A few days after the launch of Presidential or ‘Parliamentary Democracy in Kenya: Choices to be made’, a book written by Kisumu County Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, the former Deputy Director of Communications for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Seth Odongo alias Dikembe Disembe has ofered his reviews on the book.
In a Twitter thread posted yesterday, Disembe says the book is biased toawards the parliamentary system of governance.
Here is the thread:
- I have spent the whole of today reading Prof. Anyang Nyong’o’s new book. While it offers the “end” as a parliamentary system, it does not provide the “means” to achieve that end. The author also paints a rather idealized view of a parliamentary political system…
- What I love about the book, though, is that it dives deep in expounding the merits of a parliamentary system vis-a-vis a presidential system. It wholly scorns a hybrid system. It is in my view a discourse opener – not necessarily the discourse itself.
- Caution: You will not find in the book the demerits of a parliamentary system. Therein lies the “danger of a single story”. Of course this is expected as the author is intellectually and ideologically biased towards a parliamentary system, from the word go.
- The book does not – for e.g – navigate the delicate issue of coalition building and brinksmanship/deadlocking that happens in parliamentary systems and which – just like in a presidential system – can and do paralyze such systems. And kill some political parties.
- A case in point is the current gridlock in Israel. Having failed to win an absolute majority, the two leading parties – Natenyahu’s and Gantz’s – have also failed to form a unity government.
- Benjamin Natenyahu has been given the first opportunity to, within 28 days, to try form a coalition with the other parties; which opportunity will be given to Benny Gantz to also try form a coalition should Natenyahu fail.
- What’s to happen is that if they both fail to form a governing coalition, the president is bound to call another poll. A third poll in a year! Can Kenya afford this?
- For a wealthy nation like Israel this third election is a small pimple to rub. For a poor and highly tribalized country like Kenya, we all know this is a recipe for CHAOS, the likes of which we’ve never seen.
- If delaying just one recent repeat election to get it right almost sent Kenya’s economy into the doldrums, we all know two is stretching our luck. Three is 1000 ways to die!
- And with the stakes as high as they often are in Kenya; what stops the incumbent from rigging? What stops our still very “democratically primitive” deep state from “intervening” with its computers? And what stops Europe and America from “meddling”?
- The conclusion I draw is that a parliamentary system, though better than the current presidential system, also has its “internal contradictions” that are just as perilous as the presidential system Prof Nyong’o so disdainfully clobbers in his book.