Kenya should adopt the one vote, one man, one value concept in its governance system. This is a system of voting in which every person in a jurisdiction has the right to cast their vote, and in which each individual’s vote is counted and has equal value. The number of electoral jurisdictions, elected representatives and the amount of resources allocated to each electoral jurisdiction whether a region or a County or a constituency or a ward MUST be based on this.
To achieve this, I propose electoral units to be population based. This means, all electoral units at whatever level ought to have almost equal population. This translates to the fact that resources will be distributed equally and representation in legislatures will be representative. The number of MPs and MCAs in National and County legislatures must reflect the population. This shall ensure budgetary allocation will be directly proportional to the population statistics in each electoral unit. As is, our electoral representation is hugely unequal thus disenfranchising some areas to the benefit of others. This goes against our Bill of Rights on Equality and Discrimination which are fundamental and inalienable Constitutional requirements.
Article 89 of our Supreme Law must be amended to reflect this. This is to ensure each vote counts. Representation should be as a result of one man, one vote whilst resource sharing should be a product of one man, one vote, one shilling. These two concepts should and ought to be held as holy. The Ligale led Commission on electoral boundary demarcation largely ignored the concepts of resource sharing, representation and structure of governance. This resulted in some regions being hugely discriminated against. This is a transgression we need to correct. To put this immoral discrepancy into perspective, Eldoret North Constituency was divided into 4 other Constituencies namely Kesses, Soy, Turbo and Kapseret whilst Ruiru despite having a bigger population was left out. Was this a normal anomaly or a calculated move to disenfranchise? This is a red flag if not a red herring!
One irreducible minimum within the BBI framework should be this concept. This will sort out the principle of equality of the vote. On the structure of governance, another key issue, every vote must count!! Political equality is what defines and determines democracy. If citizens lack equal voice in any democratic political dispensation, then that democratic representation becomes a farce. From 2017 IEBC voter statistics Ruiru Town constituency has 159,337 voters whilst Lafey Constituency has 14,321 voters yet the two constituencies are represented equally by a single MP, receive an equal share of CDF and their respective MP’s vote in Parliament carry the same weight. Is this fair? Why these extremes? This inequality MUST be addressed!!!!
The idea that a vote in Parliament by an MP representing an excess of 150,000 voters has the same weight as that of an MP representing less than 20,000 voters should be dismissed as lacking any merit or logic. Pragmatism demands each taxpayer to reap from his or her taxes without prejudice or discrimination. Our current scenario can aptly be described as instutionalized fraud. Many are victims of this rigged form of representation.
Population based representation, resource allocation and structure of governance will guarantee equality. Though rumour has it that the current scenario was created to cure historical injustices, the result has been the emergence of neo-marginalization. Wards and Constituencies are our basic units of development. Thus, the population factor must not be taken lightly. The higher the population, the higher the number of public utilities needed to serve the population. This requires commensurate resources. You can’t allocate a Constituency with 500 plus Primary Schools the same resources as a Constituency with less than 50 Primary Schools. That is sacrilege!
The wishes and aspirations of every Kenyan as expressed through a vote must not only be respected but must also count and remain sacrosanct.
Mwangi Wa Iria is the CRP Party Leader, Deputy Chairperson Council of Governors in the Republic of Kenya and Governor, Murang’a County