How to get a president democratically without holding an election


The Sunday Nation


06 August 2023


Unbeknownst to many, even though Kenya became an independent country in 1963, it only held its first presidential election in 1992 – a whole 29 years after independence! Since then, we have had 7 presidential polls out of which, 6 have been vehemently contested by the losing candidates. The only time a loser accepted the results was in 2002. The rest of the time, the losers have always protested and made unsubstantiated claims of rigging.

With this kind of history, I believe we need to re-think the way we chose the president of Kenya. Though this office is supposed to symbolise of unity of the nation, our presidential elections have become the source of the greatest divisions in this country. Indeed, after the 2017 polls, there was even talk of secession!

The question then is, is it possible to get a widely acceptable president without having an election? I believe the answer is yes! Here is one way of doing it…

The first step is getting prospective presidents. Any person who wishes to become president would be required to go around the country and collect at least one million signatures from registered voters. In order to ensure wide acceptance, the prospect would need to get at least 3,000 signatures from each of the 290 constituencies.

Now, of course 3,000 times 290 is 870,000; which is less than one million. Therefore, the prospect must get more than 3,000 from certain constituencies – their strongholds.

In addition, because some voters might like more than one of the prospects, we allow that out of the one million supporters, a half of them must be unique, that is, they have not expressed support for any other prospective president. The remaining 500,000 may have signed for another prospect.

To make things a little more difficult, the window for collecting these signatures is open for a limited period of time, say, 100 days.

So, after we get a certain number of qualified prospects, how do we identify the most suitable one? Well; we, the voters do not choose! Instead, the prospects are asked to vote for the person they think is the LEAST SUITABLE to be president.

This is negative voting, therefore, the prospect with the LOWEST number of votes is the suitable. If there is a tie or if there are just two qualified prospects, then the one with more unique supporting signatures wins the race.

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