‘Nusu mkate’ ideology is a subversion of democracy, secession from reason
What you need to know:
- The notion that every choice inevitably divides the political community according to expressed preference is shameless nonsense.
- The next iteration of this doomed ideology was the ‘inclusivity’ appeal, which persuaded Uhuru Kenyatta that Kenya was not duly constituted as a republic and a state unless Raila Odinga was accommodated.
- Attempted political extortion could not be more blatant, or stunningly mistaken.
Government is eternal. Per Thomas Hobbes’ paradigmatic formulation, the moment of contractual consensus transforms the body of citizens into a transcendental entity that may be known as a commonwealth or state.
Instantaneously, this entity is invested with an ‘artificial eternity of life’.
But because the social component of a republic is made up of mortal beings, its outlook is inevitably dynamic, shifting from generation to generation, obeying the imperatives of the temper of the times.
For the state to be sustainable, it must therefore periodically reboot its artificial eternity of life by aligning with this zeitgeist and updating its self-expression accordingly.
Public policy, through which the government find expression and sustains the life of the state, must cleave tightly to the momentary propensities of the body politic, to ensure that the eternal dimension of the state consistently finds expression in its temporal element.
Government, the mantle in which the state exercises this expression, must seasonally renew its tenure during those sacrosanct moments when a people convene to revisit the social contract.
Thus, the democratic-republican Leviathan periodically sloughs off this skin, upon which is inscribed the aggregated preferences of citizens, negotiated and agreed through under the auspices of democratic institutions.
The procedure of determining citizen consensus in the democratic political community is a simple majority vote.
This formula constitutes the decisional reflex in the infinite variety of scenarios where more than two persons must make a collectively binding choice.
Legislatures, member clubs, corporation boards, management committees and all manner of groups have favoured this method under the rule that an adopted decision shall apply to the entire community as though the minority subscribes to it.
The importance of impartiality in rule application and policy implementation extends to the recognition of minorities and dissenters, who must not feel that a majority has tyrannically weaponised its decisions to repress them.
A democracy, therefore, facilitates efficient decision-making through a majoritarian heuristic, while empowering a vocal and parsimonious minority to agitate for the scrupulous observance of impartiality.
Democracy, therefore, is a self-sustaining mechanism that facilitates the continuous negotiation of the terms upon which the social contract shall be expressed for the time being.
Embedded in this mechanism are incentives to align the respective behaviours of the majority (tyranny aversion) and the minority (countervailing vigilance), enabling them to perform complementary roles as equal members of one community.
The notion that every choice inevitably divides the political community according to expressed preference is shameless nonsense.
The brazen proposition that every election results in the implicit secession of the minority are embarrassingly threadbare reasoning and a reckless demonstration of civic ignorance.
It is a deleterious legacy of the nusu mkate ideology and the ‘National Unity’ regimes it spawned in Kenya and replicated in Zimbabwe.
It proceeds on the irredeemably wayward thesis that national unity and stability and state viability require a negotiated settlement to reverse an implicit secession and readmit the minority into the political community through ‘power sharing’ in a ‘grand coalition government’.
The next iteration of this doomed ideology was the ‘inclusivity’ appeal, which persuaded Uhuru Kenyatta that Kenya was not duly constituted as a republic and a state unless Raila Odinga was accommodated in government in some form or other.
The Handshake, BBI and Azimio are amplified expressions of the travesty.
It is noteworthy that the constitution of Kenya weathered an assault of unprecedented ferocity during the Handshake era, and that its aftermath reverberates with tremendous severity even now.
Equally noteworthy was the heretical confidence that emerged at this time, when national leaders shamelessly proclaimed that democracy is not suitable for African societies generally and Kenya in particular.
After ‘reggae’ stopped, and Azimio’s ‘Inawezekana’ turned into ‘Mission: Impossible’, remnants of the nusu mkate gang are occasionally heard forcefully asserting that Kenya Kwanza must consider the fact that over five million Kenyans voted for Raila Odinga, that modalities of reaching out to accommodate them are critically imperative, and that time is of the essence. A disastrously misguided proposition powered equally by civic ignorance and arrant cynicism.
Attempted political extortion could not be more blatant, or stunningly mistaken.
Given the foregoing, what may we safely infer about our politics?
First, the woefully elusive traction of the ‘nusu mkate’ appeal should provide assurance that Kenyan democracy is deepening and that space for testing opportunistic political hypotheses has shrunk drastically.
Secondly, the political minority are full members of the Kenyan political community, and it is time for its adventurous leaders, especially Azimio’s fundamentalists, to abandon their secession from reason.
Mr Ng’eno is an advocate of the High Court.