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Why Kenyans Are More Republicans than Democrats



The US elections are two weeks away, poised to be held on Tuesday 8th November 2016. This is an election that has been preceded with tremendous razzmatazz not seen in the past.

There are two major parties in the US. The Grand Old Party (GOP) aka Republicans has a worldview of American conservatism while the Democrats advocate for modern liberalism. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the contenders of both parties, have held three electrifying national debates across the country, in Hosfra University, Hempstead New York, Washington University St Louis, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas

First, I must indicate that majority of Kenyans regard themselves more of Democrats than Republicans. This could be due to various reasons, but probably most noticeable is because of Barrack Obama the first black president of the US, with Kenyan roots, was a Democrat.

One would, therefore, expect that the ideologies fronted by Democrats would resonate well with Kenyans and Africans in a larger context. But on close observation and scrutiny of the presidential debates, one cannot escape noticing some ideological positions which in my view make Kenyans more Republicans than Democrats, contrary to popular belief.

The following five sticking issues buttress my argument;

1. Pro-life versus Roe v Wade

During the 3rd debate at UNLV, Donald Trump said that he was against any form of abortion, and would, in fact, select Pro-Life Justices in the Supreme Court, a decision that would have a fundamental impact on future pronouncements on abortion.
Hillary Clinton suggested that she would be guided by the January 1973 US Supreme Court matter of Roe V. Wade. The Court essentially gave the right to a woman to procure an abortion at any stage of her pregnancy. This would be as late as two or three days before birth.

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Article 26(4) of the Kenyan constitution on Right to Life states;

Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is the need for emergency treatment or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law. This position is buttressed by the Penal Code Laws of Kenya, articles 158-160, 228 and 240
It is evident from the above characterisation that Kenyan laws do not entertain termination of pregnancy in whatever form, shape or shade.

2. Immigration crises and home grown terrorism

The issue of illegal immigrants is emotive; everyone knows how bungled immigration policies have screwed up the domestic security situation. We all have suffered at the hands of terrorists either directly or indirectly. Every Kenyan yearns for a permanent solution to the immigration crisis.

Donald Trump has been unambiguous about illegal immigrants, suggesting that they must be profiled and deported from the US homeland. Hillary has largely been vague, appearing to indicate that she would initiate a kind of a vetting process, with an aim to ultimately assimilate them into the American society.

Kenya has previously found itself in similar circumstances. Frustrated by a ballooning population of immigrants of Somali origin, and increasing incidences of terrorist attacks, the Kenya government in April 2014 began profiling immigrants in Eastleigh, Nairobi and sending them in droves to Dadaab refugee camp. In May 2016, the government again announced plans to summarily close the said Dadaab refugee complex, and expel over 300,000 refugees to Somalia.

3. The Mexican wall

The US-Mexican border is 3100 kilometers long. It traverses all sorts of terrain from empty, dusty desert to the lush and rugged surroundings of the Rio Grande. Some 1100 kilometers of the border is covered by non-continuous series of fences, concrete slabs, and other structures.

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Both candidates agree that the border is porous and has been a source of much crap, including drugs and illegal immigrants.

Trump has suggested that he would build an “impenetrable, physical, tall, sturdy, beautiful, southern border wall” between the US and Mexico’’ Mr. Trump says his wall will cover 1500 kilometers and natural obstacles will take care of the rest. Hillary’s solution has largely been unclear
Trump’s idea appears to be a Xerox copy of Kenya’s idea of dealing with illegal immigrants from Somalia. In April 2016, Kenya’s interior CS announced plans to construct a 700 kilometers wall, along with the Kenya-Somali border.

4. The 2nd Amendment (Gun Laws)

The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the first ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights. It protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms stating “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Recent escalation in gun related crimes in the US has pointed to need to review of the 2nd amendment. Pundits have alluded to the need for regulating or restricting possession and use of automatic rifles and high capacity magazines. These suggestions have faced virulent opposition from civil society movements, led by the National Rifles Association (NRA)

Trump has been advocating a strict adherence to the 2nd amendment as contained in the US Constitution, and a daily reading and application of the law. Hillary has been wavering, appearing to suggest that the gun laws can be applied in context, in the face of (legitimate) security threats. This has been interpreted to be a backdoor amendment to the constitution
Many constitutional lawyers and civil society activists in Kenya would similarly virulently oppose any reading or interpretation of the constitution that do not agree with its ‘‘spirit and letter’’.

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5. Gay rights

Donald Trump has spent his campaign against the various protections provided for LGBTQ people in the United States. He has vowed to appoint judges to the Supreme Court to turn back the legalization of same-sex marriage and supporting state-sanctioned discrimination against transgender people
On her part, Hillary on is fragrantly described as career gay sympathizer, saying ‘’Hillary has been a vocal advocate for LGBT rights throughout her career.’’

LGBT rights are a divisive moral issue in Kenya. The LGBT community has found solace in article 36 on the ‘’ Freedom of Association’’ in the Constitution which states interalia ‘’ Every person has the right to freedom of association, which includes the right to form, join or participate in the activities of an organization of any kind.’’

Whether ‘’marriage’’ can be categorized as an ‘’association’’, or whether the drafters of the constitution, in drafting the clause, sought to protect gay unions, is an entirely different subject.
THE FACT is Kenya like many other African countries, is opposed to any form of same-sex marriage whatsoever.

So how are we Democratsts?

Anthony Mwangi

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [[email protected]]


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