Introduction To Political Science Politics

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The study of political science in Africa has been reduced to issues of democracy after the colonial era. This has been evidenced by the ways in which African countries conduct their elections, how they protect the rights of their citizens among other great issues based on the relationship between the government and the society. Democracy is a complex phenomenon and thus the reason why the establishment of a democratic state is not necessarily guaranteed by the regular multi-party election. In 1980s, many African countries shifted from one party system to a multi-party system but this does not describe the true establishment of democratic state in Africa. A case study on the Kenyan government will give a better understanding on how the study of political science has turned to mere issue of democracy. Political party formation is a concept that has been growing since 1992 when Kenya moved from one party system to a multi-party system. After independence in 1963, Kenyan government experienced a kind of leadership that could fit dictatorship under the tutelage of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta who was the president at that time until his premature death in 1978. As a civilian one party system, Kenya experienced excessive pressure from clandestine movement in an effort to obtain a dictator free kind of government. The movement required the dictatorial regimes to create a political free environment. It was difficult for the dictatorial regime to respond to the pressure emanating from the political reforms. Kenya was not practicing democracy by then and this explains why many international communities have found it difficult to work with Kenya. Wambuii (2006) support this argument by asserting that, the study of political science has been reduced to the issues of democracy in Kenya. By demonstrating how the political party emerged in 1991 and how these parties have developed coalition to form one party system in 2007 general elections, Wambuui pose that dominance by the ruling party is evident in this study. [] As seconded by Mutua (2008), the Kenyan case study highlight the challenges incurred by the multi-party system when the emerging opposition parties practice the culture of ethnicity and personal ambitions for ruling. [] 

DiscussionDemocracy in Kenya

KANU poses as an excellent example of one party-system in Kenya whose strategies were behind diving political parties in order to remain in power. It is from this viewpoint when these political parties decided to unite with an aim of removing the KANU regime. Civil societies united with opposition parties hence putting pressure to the government calling for the establishment of plural party system in early 1991and other more political reforms that were evident before the 2007 general elections. In Kenya, almost every political party is at the risk of splitting based on ethnicity and personal ambitions for power. This is the main reason why the unity within these parties is wearing out. Disunity within these political parties has led to severe impacts on economic, political and social changes. [] For instance, in the present Kenyan coalition government, both the President and the Prime Minister are not cooperative in decision-making since each one of them is after personal ambition for power. The PNU and ODM, which are the ruling parties in Kenyan government, are struggling for power. Democracy is witnessed in the Kenyan government through the means in which Kenya conducts its elections. Kenyan government lies in the hands of the civil societies. It is from the civil society whereby leadership is determined; this implies that, people have the right to elect their leader without the influence from the government. Democratic state in the current Kenyan government is illustrated by the flexibility of the political parties whereby, part of the members can resign from one political party and join another party of their choice. Based on the views of Murunga and Nasong'o (2007) in their book, "Kenya: the struggle for democracy", the political freedom in Kenyan government is a good indication of democracy and points towards a democratic state. [] Following this, there is no doubt that this provides a succinct description how the study of political science has been reduced to issues of democracy. Kenyan people are free to vote or elect a member of parliament of their choice without the governmental interference. During the Mzee Jomo Kenyatta era, only a single political party had the mandate of ruling the country. The nature of government was dictatorship and presented little and/or less concern on people's right. Political parties with financial instability faced severe challenges in their struggle for power. The powerful political party used to buy political leaders of other political parties with an aim of weakening their political strength. The other reason why democracy is evident in Kenyan government is the fact that, many political parties are very poor and lacks donors and other external forces to support them. Arguing from this fact, the poor political parties will find it difficult to sustain itself hence indulging into alliances and coalitions as the last resort. The current situation in Kenyan government provides a potential background for alliances and coalition among the political parties. Many researchers are concerned with the issue based on whether Kenyan government has achieved democracy in its politics. The issue was justified during the 2002 general elections whereby an incumbent was barred from contesting for the third round by the law. According to the 2010 Kenyan constitution, no presidential candidate is supposed to serve for more than two terms in power. [] 

The maximum period of time that an individual can serve as a president is ten years, which is an equivalent of two terms as per the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. According to Murunga and Nasong'o (2007), democracy is portrayed by the fact that the Kenyan government established laws to control the governance process. In regard to 2010 Kenyan constitution, general elections should be held after every five years. The constitution has highlighted an issue of democracy when it passed laws that advocate for referendum and by-elect ions in case of a vote of no confidence. It has also advocated for petitions from parliamentary members due to fair voting process during general elections. This clearly describes how the study of political science has been reduced to issues of democracy in Kenya. Democracy has twinkled down to other African countries for instance, the Southern Sudan whereby citizens have rejected Hussein Mubarak leadership during the 2011 January general election. Sudan citizens were dissatisfied with President Hussein Mubarak's leadership and they were seeking for new demission of leadership whereby they could express the aspect of democracy. During the colonial era, political aspirants had no freedom of expressing their political views. For instance, the kapenguria six that include, Jomo Kenyatta, Bildad Kaggia, Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei, Kung'u Karumba and Achieng Oneko suffered severely from the colonial rule since they were detained without trials. This was to hinder them from expressing their political opinions to the colonial government. This contravenes democratilization in the current Kenyan government whereby, every person has the right and freedom to air his or her political issues without restriction from the government. According to Otiende and Njoroge (2001), democracy is considered as a product of political science studies where gender sensitivity is practiced. [] In addition, Murunga and Nasong'o asserts that, many women are now competing with men for power hence occupying important positions in the government. [] 

2. What defines a state?

A state comprises of three elements namely the incorporating government, territory and the people. Politically, a state can be viewed or considered as a political entity composed of human community that use physical force to successfully claim the monopoly of power and ruling. According to Kimani and Garnette (2007), it is a state whereby, a certain community and tribe believe in ruling other tribes and/or communities. [] It considers itself special and equipped with the desired values and principles of leadership. For instance, the 2007 general elections in Kenya led to severe struggle between the ruling class and the people. This struggle resulted to political process that eventually contributed into political science. In this regard, the struggle led to issues concerned with electoral process. It is an issue of political science since it describes the manner in which the election should be conducted. Based on this issue, the Kenyan government made declaration that, the electoral process must be free, fair and genuine as well as transparent.

According to the Kenyan 2010 constitution and Godfrey (2001), people have the right to vote anywhere, everywhere without manipulation of their efforts. Kenya is an example of a plural society and it contains some communities and/or groups who believe that the government has neglected them hence they term themselves as marginalized. These groups claim that, the government has ignored them and that is why they do not participate in governance. [] The Kenyan's post election violence gave a better overview of political science since it embarks on electoral process in determining the position held by both the people and the government. The ruling class and the people demanded the electoral commission to dispute the results. Struggle arose when the opposition party, ODM disagreed with the elections outcome while the ruling part agreed and took power. Civil societies demanded for the respect of their rights to vote claiming that the government should not have altered the voting process. People struggled with the ruling class on who should take into the power. The struggle between the two parties, that is the ruling class and the people resulted into political science because Kenyan politics are tribal based and thus the reason why different tribes engaged in war as a mechanism to retain and/or maintain power. [] 

Muoria-Sal, Muoria and Lonsdale (2009), assert that, the struggle also indicated that, flawed elections influence the political stability of a nation. The only way to ensure fair and credible electoral process is through the restoration of confidence in the Kenyan political system. It is evident that ethnic nationalism is not strange in most Africans countries especially Kenya. The kikuyu community firstly exercised dominance of power after the colonial period when Mzee Jomo Kenyatta became the first president of Kenya. Following this, the community also dominated the postcolonial economy and state. [] This community considered itself, the heart of politics in Kenya therefore, no other community could engage in politics. Dominance of power was also witnessed in the ruling of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta whereby, during his death he appointed President Daniel Arap Moi as his successor. The late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta further demanded that President Daniel Arap Moi should hand back presidency to Uhuru Kenyatta. This is the reason why during 2002 elections, Moi campaigned for Uhuru Kenyatta thought he was not successful. President Mwai kibaki who is a kikuyu took over the presidency in 2002 general election. Dominance for power is portrayed whereby, the kikuyu community considers itself supreme as opposed to other communities. The fact that it was the first community to produce the president of this nation, it implies that it should remain in power forever. This highlights the reason why Uhuru Kenyatta kept on vying for presidency from 2002 to-date obviously in belief that the royalty must continue. [] 

In conclusion, democracy came to be in early 1991 when Kenya moved from one-party system into multi-party system. Concept of party formation in Kenya led to the establishment of organizations or bodies advocating for protection of people's right and freedom of choosing leader based on one's will. Kenya is an example of African countries whereby politics dwell on ethnicity groups. In this context, the Kikuyu community considers itself as a state and can be used to explain why the kikuyu people vie for presidency more often than other communities in Kenya.

Work Cited

Muoria-Sal, Wangari, Muoria Henry, and Lonsdale John. Writing for Kenya: the life and works of Henry Muoria. Newport: BRILL, 2009. Print.

Murunga, Godwin and Nasong'o Shadrack. Kenya: the struggle for democracy. London: Zed Books, 2007. Print.

Mutua, Makau. Kenya's quest for democracy: taming leviathan. New Jersey: Rienner Publishers, 2008. Print.

Mwakikagile, Godfrey. Ethnic politics in Kenya and Nigeria. Hauppauge: Nova Publishers, 2001. Print.

Njogu, Kimani and Oluch-Ounya, Garnette. Cultural production and social change in Kenya: building bridges. Achimota College: African Books Collective, 2007.Print.

Otiende, James and Njoroge, George. Education, gender, and democracy in Kenya. New York: Friends-of-the-Book Foundation, 2001. Print.

Wambuii, Henry. The politics of HIV/AIDS and implications for democracy in Kenya. United Kingdom: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006. Print.

Article name: Introduction To Political Science Politics essay, research paper, dissertation