Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and/or is enjoying the holidays.
I am on vacation and all my communication devices are held in quarantine from me unless I beg and am given permission from my kids to check and reply to important emails but have had a few minutes to read an exchange between and among several bloggers on Kenya forum discussing the purported presidential candidacy of Hon. Abdurkadir Mohamed, MP for Mandera and chimed in my views which I share here as well.
Addressing the combatants, I noted the following:.
In sum, all of you have jumped the gun.
While it is perfectly normal and, indeed, common for anyone to declare an interest in running for the presidency, including those everyone knows are a joke, I would not start asking the deeper philosophical and practical question whether being a Muslim is or is not helpful in running for president in Kenya.
As an analyst, I try to start my analysis on simple questions and leave the harder questions to tackle at the appropriate time.
At this juncture, there are several things I would like to know and evaluate before reaching my conclusions as whether Hon. Abdikadir Mohamed is a viable candidate:
First, I would like to know which party has nominated him or will nominate him and whether that party is in full compliance with the Political Parties Act of 2011. If he has not been nominated, I would like to know who else seeks the nomination from that party and what prospects he has of winning the nomination. If the MP is nominated by a brief-case party that stands no chance of being cleared by IEBC to run, that’s the end of my inquiry and whether or not Abdikadir is a Christian or Muslim or neither is irrelevant.
Second, if Abdikadir is nominated, then the next thing I would like to know is what system does he have in place or could have in place to harvest votes across the country to meet the constitutional requirement of 50% +1 of votes cast and carrying at least 24 counties in the country. This is another way of saying is Mr. Abdikadir a traditional candidate or one like others I have heard saying they have some magic to win the presidency rather than going through the traditional means other than strict adherence to tribalism, which I am on record saying we may finally break free from in 2012, if Raila wins the presidency with his 47-County vote harvesting strategy and I am not here saying no other candidate can achieve this; just that of all those running, he is the one I am most confident he will.
Third, if the MP does not have a system in place to harvest votes across the country or if the MP is pursuing a non-traditional path to the presidency, then I would seriously want to know whether he is a front for other interests, separate and part from the question of whether he is vying under a serious party in which case I would like to know what those interests are and whether they are good for the country. If my conclusion is the MP is a front and is vying at the behest of others whose interests are divisive or otherwise not good for the country, that’s the end of my inquiry and would not support him on that ground alone and it would not matter whether he is a Christian or Muslim or even an atheist.
Fourth, if Abdikadir is nominated by a serious party, is not a front for anyone, and shows me he has the system in place to harvest votes across the country, then I would like to know the MP stacks up against the rest of the field in leadership qualities, utilizing the criteria I have articulated in my blog The Minimum Qualities, Attributes and Skills Our Next President In Kenya Must Possess. One of the qualities I have noted in my suggested QAS, is religion.
It does not matter to me what religion one belongs to but I do vehemently oppose having a sworn or declared atheist from being elected as president for reasons I have previously stated in my many blogs on this subject.
Applying this simple analysis for everyone would help avoid premature discussion of volatile issues we can debate until we all go blue or whatever unnatural color brought about by such exercise in futility because the truth is, nobody knows to what extent are Kenyans ready to elect a Muslim as our president.
If a Muslim candidate emerges and convinces the country sufficiently to be elected president in accordance to our constitution, we should all rally behind him or her and help him govern much like anyone else.
Fifth, a country only has one leader at the top and for this reason alone, there are many reasons why who is elected to that office must be evaluated differently than who is elected or appointed to less important offices and even those who seek that office, must respect that fact and not necessarily put themselves out there as candidates merely because they meet the constitutional requirements to run for the office.
There are many jokers who say they are interested in the office and let me not mention names even though I am thinking about the likes of Bifwoli but they will be the first ones to tell you they are not serious, if they were to be honest.
Others are serious but have never even read the relevant provisions of the constitution to determine whether they, in fact, qualify to run.
There is a reason why everyone who qualifies to run for president do not.
Finally, but not least, let’s be smart about how we debate these issues.
A key in healthy debate, is starting from a premise worth debating.
What I see here, is a false premise that Abdikadir is running for president when even he himself has not publicly stated so.
If and when he does, let’s analyze his presidential run as I have outlined above.
If and when he runs, there shall be many questions he will have to answer, including how as a Muslim, he will reconcile leading a nation that is so heavily Christian or non-Muslim more in the same vein I or anyone else would have to justify to voters in a heavily Muslim or non-Christian country that I can lead them despite my being a Christian.
Citing the constitution, i.e., saying I’ll rule in accordance to the constitution is not an option for reasons I don’t have to get into, not the least of which is it’s acceptable naivete that a true leader always governs within the four corners of the law–that’s a myth I’ll expose some day.
Peace, Unity and I Have Nothing Against the Muslim Religion