Parochial parties won’t do

What you need to know:

  • Parties are the best means for pursuing power and, in our democracy.
  • It is those that have a national outlook that are likely to have a greater influence in the political arena.

Politics is about interests and the pursuit of power to protect them. This explains the frequent rifts and shifting alliances in the political arena.

People join political parties that will enable them to fully participate in determining local and national leadership. With the next general election in two years there is heightening political mobilisation — as recently manifested at the coast.

Indeed, the Msambweni parliamentary by-election late last year in which an independent candidate floored ODM’s flag-bearer has fuelled talk about the formation of a coastal party.

This is nothing new. There has been a clamour in the past for the formation of an indigenous party that would articulate coastal interests. There have also been fringe radical elements dreaming about secession. That borders on criminal division of the country, which would never be condoned.

Regional cocoons

There are other factors in play in the recent talk: Politicians positioning themselves for the 2022 General Election. It is, of course, perfectly within the right of any dissatisfied individuals to cut links with the parties that sponsored them in the 2017 poll and seek a new ticket. And that is going to intensify as the next round of electioneering approaches.

Parties are the best means for pursuing power and, in our democracy, it is those that have a national outlook that are likely to have a greater influence in the political arena. Therefore, greater democratisation of the parties can yield organisations that play a more significant role in forging national unity.

But even as politicians fight for power, they must shun the temptation to drift into tribal or regional cocoons that could threaten national interests.

Indeed, it is possible, and more widely acceptable, for one to articulate regional concerns and interests without undermining national unity and stability. 

For those that treasure national cohesion and prosperity, divisive and parochial parties must be shunned.

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