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Ruto’s Solution To The “Winner Takes All” Problem

Deputy President, William Ruto was in the UK, where he gave a lecture at Chatham House among other things. Speaking on Kenya’s National Unity and Regional Integration: Challenges of Inclusion, Growth, and Change, Dr. Ruto gave what he considers the best way to handle the “winner takes it all” problem.

There is a feeling among certain Kenyans that the current executive is not as inclusive. To address that, some are advocating for an expanded Executive. Positions of Prime Minister and two Deputies are among the proposals on the table. Dr. Ruto, however, disagrees with this proposal on the basis that it will still leave the opposition in the cold.

William Ruto
Dr. William Ruto, Speaking at Chatham House, London

On the suggestion that the runners-up becomes part of the executive, the DP felt that would render competitive democratic elections useless.

Proposals…

Dr. Ruto proposed the following to mitigate the winner takes all feeling:

  • The leader of the party that comes second and his/her running mate automatically become members of parliament and assume the leadership of official opposition. This formula should apply at the county levels as well
  • The Deputy President should take over as the Leader of Government Business in Parliament and so should Deputy Governors at the County Assemblies
  • Cabinet Secretaries should be ex-officio Members of Parliament and must attend sittings of parliament at least once a week and whenever required to answer questions on the floor of the house. This will remove the perception that there is a disconnect between the Executive and the Legislature. The said Cabinet Secretaries should not be elected Members of Parliament
  • Resolve once for all the mechanism for the attainment of the Two-Thirds Gender Rule
  • Decide once for all to make Senate the Upper House, not what it is today.

On whether we have the constitutional moment to prosecute the proposal now, Ruto left it to Kenyans to decide. To choose between going for the changes now or waiting until we are sure we’ve sufficiently tested the law as it exists.

Regarding the ability of IEBC to conduct reliable elections, the DP said the problem was not mainly with the IEBC but with people who can’t concede defeat. He argued that those who go into democratic elections expecting only to win were the biggest threat. To fix this, Ruto suggested we only allow democrats to participate in elections moving forward.

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