I have been waiting for the government ,civil society and the Ministry of Justice,National Cohesion and Constitutional affairs to start civic education to no avail.Even the church which hither to has always been active in civic education seems not to be very keen on the matter.So being the philanthropic sort of person especially when it comes to matters of sharing knowledge i have decided to start my own civic education classes here…sort of.In this way we can decide if the candidates we are seeing dialy on our tv screens and reading about in the dailies measure up to what the constituion has defined.
My main focus will be on the post of President ,seeing that we are going to have at least 10 maybe even more candidates gunning for chief executive of the 582,650 Sq Km that make up the country called Kenya and its its 40 million inhabitants.
Now i took time to go through the constitution to see what the qualities for the next President should be and i am going to share the information here.Hopefully this is going to make it very easy for Kenyans reading this to determine whether the men and women seeking their precious votes meet even the minimum criteria for heading this country.
If you have ever looked for a job in any field we know the rigorous vetting one goes through before they are called for an interview.Once your application letter lands on the desk of the Human resource officer ,whoever is reading it is going to go through it with a fine tooth comb and even a spelling mistake is going to see your resume end up in the shredder.Now Kenyans need to see themselves as employers and the presidential candidates as job seekers,they need to throw away the rose colored glasses they have been using to view politicians before and get glasses that will ensure we all have 20/20 vision so that we do not slip and end up where we were in 2007.
Here is what the constitution says about the requirements for the next President simple terms.
1.The President shall respect,uphold and safeguard the constitution.
How many aspirants are talking about this?In August of last year we ate,drank and made merry when the draft constitution was signed into law.We all know of the rocky road and the billions of tax payers money that has been spent in the search for a new constitution.How many of the aspirants are willing to protect,defend and uphold this document that has cost the lives of many,seen many Kenyans suffer in the infamous chambers at Nyayo house.Some like Kenneth Matiba have lost their fortunes and been rendered immobile all because they fought to make Kenya a more democratic place for every citizen of this country.
2.The President shall safeguard the sovereignty of the Republic.
If i may quote Wikipedia whose definition i found most apt on sovereignty “a sovereign state is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither dependent on nor subject to any other power or state.”
Now is the presidential candidate seeking your vote telling you how they are going to ensure that Kenyans no longer have to beg for food to feed its people?is s/he telling you how they are going to ensure we are able to transition into a middle income economy without seeking for more loans from donors which more often than not over the past has disappeared into private accounts or been misused?
3.The President shall promote and enhance the unity of the Nation
Is the man or woman standing before you a symbol of national unity or are they a divisive factor.Do these men and women know that Kenya has more than 42 tribes and we have citizens from all the corners of the world who have chosen to make Kenya home.Are they cognisant of the fact that the country needs Kenyans of every color,tribe,faith and race to work together in order for us to move forward.
It amazes me that in a country that is like a mini united nation because of its diversity our political leaders never seem to remember that it will take the efforts of every Kenyan regardless of the ethnicity and the prejudices we have had about each other in the past to make vision 2030 a dream and not some task force’s paper dream.
Is your preferred candidate doing enough to ensure each and every Kenyan feels part and parcel of the whole work in progress we are calling Kenya.Or do they make you feel marginalized,forgotten and ignored.
5.The President shall promote respect for the diversity of the people and communities of Kenya
Please refer to (c) above
6.The President shall ensure the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of the law.
The bill of rights in the constitution we passed is already very clear about this and the President needs to ensure that all Kenyans enjoy the freedoms and rights enshrined in the constitution.
These being the basic requirement the constitution defines,what else do you think the next president of this great republic needs to have?