Why I am for Self Determination but Not Through Cessation

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I, Okiya Omtatah Okoiti, am for self-determination but not through cessation.

I strongly believe that we have a design flaw in our Constitution, wherein we devolved all organs of governance except the presidency. Hence, for me, the solution lies in amending Article 138 of the Constitution to devolve the presidency by removing the provision inadvertently created in law for the ethnic mobilisation of the national electorate at presidential elections.

There is the urgent need to fully devolve the presidency to the 47 counties, the way the American founding fathers devolved their presidency to all the states that make up the United States of America. It is only by ensuring that a President is elected by a popular vote weighted at the county level and not nationally that the stranglehold on national politics by the big five tribes will be broken.

Each county would be assigned the number of electoral points equivalent to the number of constituencies it has plus one extra point underscoring that all counties are equal. We have 290 constituencies + 47 counties totalling 337 electoral points.

One would be required to win the popular vote in the number of counties required to garner at least 169 electoral points (being more than half (or 50% + 1) of the points). That way, the big five tribes (Luhyia, Kamba, and Luo (i.e. NASA) on the one hand, & the Kalenjin and Kikuyu (Jubilee) on the other), which dominate national politics in Kenya simply due to their sizeable populations will be cut down to size given that significant members of these five tribes are minorities in other counties. The tribes only become significant when tallied nationally.

When tallied at the county level, even Lamu County with only two constituencies would have three vital electoral points which, though not enough to produce a president, can prevent one from being a president. Hence, Lamu will not be insignificant in the scheme of things, and those seeking the presidency will not flaunt the national sizes of their tribes at Lamu; they will tell Lamu their agenda for the county.

And with that, the seeds for issue-based national politics would have been planted and even an El Molo with the right ideas will have a realistic opportunity to be elected the President of Kenya.

Okiya Omtatah Okoiti is a Human Rights Activist and the Busia Senator

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