Unconditional cash transfers have played a transformation agenda among rural households in developing world including Kenya. They have given households power to make choices over what they can invest on and also behaviors on how they can spend on these investments. Interestingly because of poverty levels of some of these households welfare needs make more sense to them that investment options hence the cash seem to address their short-term needs instead of long-term investments.
Again, the impact of unconditional cash transfers has not been appreciated along the lines of the governmental framework because most organizations have not fitted into pre-existing governmental frameworks to use UCTs as incentives to spur development beyond attending to the most immediate needs. This may be argued from different fronts but with the coming of the devolved governments, organizations championing UCTs have a unique opportunity of augmenting programmes to the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs). Most UCTs programmes are cost-effective to manage than other forms of cash transfers because they do not require more of monitoring and evaluation but in my opinion, there should still be a mechanism to measure impact and outputs of the project.
With the advent of mobile money such as MPESA cash transfers have found a better definition because apart from providing a platform for money transfer through money one can now operate a mobile money account hence prioritize expenditure and investment. I am keener to take a close view and insights of how UCTs can spur development from a sense of helping rural communities put money in investments that can lead to a steady stream of revenue for households hence help curb over-dependence syndrome on charity money.
The Supreme Court has given reasons informing it’s its decision to annul the presidential elections on 1st September 2017 citing various reasons connected to the failure of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct the process in accordance with the Law. In its ruling, 4 members of the bench ruled against the elections while 2 members of the bench dissented the decision on grounds that the technical failures could not be used as a maxim to annul the election and that by so doing the will of the people had to be subrogated. This ruling was not in favor of yourself and was contrary to the results announced by IEBC which showed you gained a majority win over Raila Odinga. Not only did the judgment rob the Kenyan people of their democratic right as exercised on Aug 8, but it also now has the potential to throw our country into judicial chaos. The effect and precedent set in that singular judgment say that a bench can nullify the decision of millions of Kenyans without due regard to evidence. This position is diametrically opposed to the sovereign right our people have to elect leaders of their choice as enshrined in our Constitution.
Mr. President, the situation you find yourself and your government today mirrors to what Homer the great Philosopher and Poet captured in his poem Odyssey. While the Supreme Court decision brought a legal determination to what was a political determination, Homer agreed with Aristotle that political activity was at the core of natural man soaring beyond the confines of will and intellect. This is important because it reinforces what the election results showed – the will of the people. Homer’s thinking reminds us that in such times we should think of what makes us exemplary without forgetting to reconcile with those things that divide ourselves. Our nation is a crisis and now we are divided along our tribal and political lines. It is important to reflect upon the matter that makes the Kenyan people united as one body and reflect upon this things to bring Kenya together. Do not follow the path to disillusionment as portrayed by the Greek philosopher Plato in his allegory of the cave but pursue knowledge and enlightenment from God on how to act. God is central to our existence as a country and this is espoused in our constitution.
Mr. President, this judgment, points directly to our constitution. It is this very constitution that gives power to the people of Kenya as a social contract symbol with the leaders they elect. This is the core of the process Kenyans undertook on 8th August 2017, and whose determination depicts the will of the people, in whom all sovereignty resides. This reinforces the fact that the will of the people of Kenya was not supposed to be wholly be determined by the legal process which denies individuals from deciding who leads them. It is this sense of sovereignty that John Hobbes, the English Philosopher, said was an attribute of the nation that was above the law. He reinforced his argument that further that despite his assertion above, laws were critical for peaceful existence through the state machinery. It is this state machinery that your government should ensure that during this period of uncertainty it is used to serve every Kenya equally without any prejudice to maintain peace and secure property.
Mr. President, The judgment has also created uncertainties and raised matters that require more attention to our constitution going forward. Since our constitution reinforces our sovereignty and is the social contract with the leaders, we are left to wonder if this Social contract is still intact? The social contract is not just a mere agreement between the people but between them and the sovereignty of Kenya. This is alienable and cannot be taken away from Kenyans. John Locke agrees with this aspect and further, he says that the laws should not only be a preserve for the judiciary but the legislature should play a major role in the process. Mr. President, it is my humble suggestion that in your wisdom you request the national assembly and the Senate to review some elements of the laws relating the elections both in statutes and in the constitution with a view of removing any ambiguity that may undermine the process in future. By so doing we shall have answered the dilemma we are in currently whether the people’s choice in the ballot sufficient to elect leaders of their choice as provided for in our Constitution or does it in future require a qualitative endorsement by a judge. Indeed as the Swiss Philosopher, Jacques Rousseau said: ‘The political power rests with the people who exercise their general will.’ You should endeavor to insist on this way of thinking in order to restore faith in people that they are the ones who define sovereignty and it is not the leaders who only define sovereignty as previously thought by Hobbes.
Mr. President, these Philosophers I have quoted all share bits of wisdom that may be useful to you. In all let God define our path and speech as we pursue the ways of the constitution. In the coming days as your supporters and the nation at large looks up to you, reinforce the message that you will protect the contract you entered with the people of Kenya and will respect the will of the people.
This evening I was thinking of the political issues around the death of Jesus while of course acknowledging His saving grace and the power of the blood shed on calvary.
Then there was this man called Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate was the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from AD 26–36. By any standard, the Roman Empire was the epicenter of world order politically and stood tall militarily.
As the governor of Rome he also served as what you may call the chief justice or the principal judge in the case of Jesus vs State (there was no precedent but only accounts of ‘treason’).
The ultimate political dilemma was to sentence the son of God:
One who was the messiah.
One who was the saviour.
One who was equally popular and also unpopular.
One who was loved and hated in equal measure, yet he came as a gift of love.
He navigates through this paddle with a stroke of divine wisdom. Pilate declares in Luke’s Gospel. John has Pilate twice announce ‘I find no basis for a charge against him’. This was not popular. This made his a villain of sorts.
Have you ever thought critically why it is said that Jesus was crucified ‘under the reign of Pontius Pilate?’
Here is a man who believed in the truism of ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’.
Democracy and theocracy have a common meaning only when derived from the happenings in the heart of man. We have confused leadership with politics.
When Jesus died on the cross he changed our destinies through the divinity of his death and the power of resurrection that came with it. The power transcended every form of creation and defined every event on earth with Love.
His dilemma – to do the right thing or the popular thing – is every leaders’ puzzle to this date.
Dennis Okore Esq