Tag Archives: US President Abraham Lincoln

The Wise Words of Pushy Politicians, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 14th July 2017

Political Manifesto

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”

US President ABRAHAM LINCOLN, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

The United States Declaration of Independence is one of the most cited manifestos in the world. The word manifesto comes from the Latin word manifestum, meaning clear or conspicuous. Thus, political manifesto therefore becomes the views and intentions of what the Government will do and its people are expected to follow. It is done within the political party framework, for example the Tory party in the UK or the Republican party in the US. In the case of Kenya, recently the Jubilee Manifesto was released with much pomp and fare. It is made up of Three Pillars: Transforming Lives, Transforming Society and Transforming Nation.

The manifesto aims to capture the transformation and pledges the political party is making in terms of education, security, infrastructure, economy and culture.

For example in the ruling party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) of India, their Election 2014 manifesto including a reform in the Police force, where it stated, modernize the Police force and give special emphasis on the working conditions and welfare of police personnel. Recently last year the Mein Kampf was republished since 1945 and this was Adolf Hitler’s collection of the policies he wanted for Germany. Libya’s former ruler Muammar Gaddafi also wrote one, called The Green Book.

The oldest manifesto known is that of Baghdad Manifesto of 1011 where it states that majority of Arabs and Muslims do not view the Fatimids as their legitimate descendants from Ali.

Thus, a manifesto can be a declaration of a belief that needs to run far in the country or faith.

The best example of how a manifesto can literally change an election, is the concluded US General Election. When the presidential candidate adorned caps with the slogan “Make America Great Again” he was creating history. The message from his opposition candidate Hillary Clinton of “Stronger Together” did not hold any power in the end and break the glass ceiling. This election campaign was also an excellent example of how the slogans, marketing gimmicks and the political debates took away the attention from the intricacies of the party manifestos. If the party is weak and falling apart even its own manifesto can not support the candidate. It is easy to write promises but difficult to fulfill them. There then needs to be a section of corporate like responsibility on productivity and efficiency. The most important being transparency, for example the government can put the live BOQ (Bill of Quantities) on their site for all to monitor cost and items used to build a railway. It may sound extreme but there can be several other measures to put in the place to check the accountability of these pledges, just like the sales teams get KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Instead of politicians lashing out in the parliament or senate and having a blame game match, it is time for some more sophistication of saying what work needs to be done and getting it done and checking how it was done.

According to the World Bank Governance indicators, they check out:

Voice and Accountability

Political Stability and Absence of Violence

Government Effectiveness

Regulatory Quality

Rule of Law

Control of Corruption

An example from the World Bank Governance and The Law Report of 2017 says:

“The past 20 years have seen enormous progress around the world in socioeconomic indicators. The rapid diffusion of technology and greater access to capital and world markets have enabled economic growth rates that were previously unfathomable, and they have helped lift over 1 billion people out of poverty. And yet increased flows have also led to rising inequality, both within and across borders, and to greater vulnerability to global economic trends and cycles. Indeed, although the global spread of capital, technology, ideas, and people has helped many countries and people move forward, other regions and populations appear to have been left behind, and they are still facing violence, slow growth, and limited opportunities for advancement.”

Ultimately the power of the constitution still matters but it can fail if the judicial process is not allowed to function to its proper level of authority and transparency. Then, a large manifesto will remain nothing but a marketing campaign for the political party.

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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Who Should Pay The Price? Point Blank with The Asian Weekly 17th April 2015

Corruption Cloud Courtesy of The African Economist

Corruption Cloud Courtesy of The African Economist

What is the meaning of corruption? “Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.”

Over the last few days headlines about top Government officials summoned to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) by Statehouse have dominated the Parliament news. President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended four Cabinet secretaries and most on the “list of shame” are expected to resign. There have been claims that most on this list are from the Opposition and United Republican Party. Personally I don’t believe that should matter too much but the fact that an action like this has taken place half way into Jubilee’s term is a wake up call for the entire National Assembly, Senate, Civil Servants and the people of Kenya. You can be taken to task for your non-performance or even over-performance especially in matters that are giving you personal gain and not for the better of the country.

When US President Abraham Lincoln said that he wanted “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth” he didn’t realize he was setting a precedent for time to come.

If our people in the Government are caught cheating, misusing their public office or diverting the country’s course from development and progress then they should be held accountable.

A simple sales team in any office faces the need to work hard up to their KPIs (key performance indicators) and if they fail then they also loose their commission. So why should a public officer not face similar consequences?

The EACC is a public body established under Section 3 (1) of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2011.

As per Section 4 of the Act: The Commission shall consist of a chairperson and two other members appointed according to the provisions of the Constitution and this Act.

Section 16 (1) of the Act states that: The Commission shall, through an open, competitive and transparent process, and with the approval of the National Assembly, appoint a suitably qualified person to be the Secretary of the Commission. (

More than which party these ministers represent, what worries me is the type of their ministries which include Agriculture, Transport, Infrastructure, Labour, Energy, to name a few. What is this telling you? It doesn’t take too much to see that Kenya even though has received a Middle Income status has yet got so much to achieve, for example infrastructure, transport and energy policies. Is this strategy a part of the Jubilee plan to clean up the Government and start afresh? We need to keep moving forward, I still remember the days leading up to the General Elections there was mega publicity of Uhuruto within Nairobi city showing a promise for a better Kenya. Ministers get fired in most Governments around the world and this should not be that shocking. This comprehensive dossier is being criticized for how it was made and who made it. Again, does it matter? Naming and shaming is a major step forward in fighting corruption and making the business of the Government, the business of the people.

An after thought is should these officers resign? American writer John Steinbeck couldn’t have put it better, “power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” An end to their career is an end to their power.

Standing up for the fight against corruption is difficult for any Head of State because that can mean turning friends into overnight enemies; especially those that could have helped you get into the powerful position. But then again, that is the game of politics, what remains to be seen is how effective is this move, what is the next strategy and how will the country gain from the loss of such officers. Who pays the price?









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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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