Kenyan brand of democracy a
Written by Mwenda wa Micheni
March 04, 2008: I detest the new tyranny in the façade of
democracy, especially the Kenyan brand. Though fronted as an
inclusive political system where the majority decide, the select
few have devised a way of circumventing the majority.
On the public podium, politicians preach it, but in practice they
conveniently retreat to “timocracy.” Those better versed with
constitutional theory define “timocracy” either as: a practise
where only property owners may participate in government; or a
government where rulers are selected and perpetuated based on the
degree of honour they hold relative to others in their society,
peers and the ruling class. This honour obviously depends on where
you were born, what you own or what company you keep.
If you have watched the political drama that has been unfolding
since Kenya’s independence, then “timocracy” should not be a new
It started when colonialists took leave, but left their cronies in
charge of this country. Then entered the Kenyan cronies who
perfected the art of “timocracy,” amassing more for themselves as
the rest of the country begged more.
Poverty grew. Traditionally, the only way for the poor to see the
other side of the divide was through a proper education system.
After years of “timocracy,” the elite designed an education system
to retain the status.
In the process, democracy become a phrase only to be used at
public rallies to appease vulnerable Kenyans, and not practised.
Interestingly, the politician has also learnt that the more often
it is fed into the minds, the more acceptable it gets.
During last year’s General Election, party manifestos dedicated
lots of space to democracy as the concept that will empower the
masses by having their own elected into seats of power.
If it is their brand of democracy, nothing could be further from
the truth. Picture this: As campaigns for the different political
seats entered a climax, the rich bankrolled their own interests;
they were not going to bet on people they couldn’t trust not to
disconnect sources of their wealth. Accompanying the money was an
The propaganda succeeded after it left poor Kenyans helplessly
dizzy. In this dizziness, they danced to the tune of the
This was opportunity for godfathers to entrench themselves into
the system to safeguard their interests. Ideally, democracy leaves
the masses to make decisions affecting them, today’s Kenyan
political system has no space for ideas from citizens. They still
remain cronies who must dance to tunes played elsewhere.