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Parties should be tolerant



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The biggest criticism of our political parties is their apparent lack of internal democracy.

The leaders tend to run these organisations like personal fiefdoms, where decisions are often made with a streak of dictatorship and intolerance.

This is so and yet the parties are often very critical of any flaws in the running of the national government. Indeed, parties have become adept at preaching water and drinking wine.

They must avoid a throwback to the grim days of single-party tyranny.

Parties are governed by rules and regulations. It would, therefore, be illogical to join one if one does not believe in its philosophy.

Sadly, this appears to be the nature of our crude politics, with parties reduced to vehicles for ascent to political office.

But parties cannot condone indiscipline among members and hope to run their affairs well. Errant members must be punished, but after being given an opportunity to be heard.

It is against this backdrop that we can understand why the Orange Democratic Movement has endorsed the decision of its disciplinary committee to expel two MPs and some MCAs for “gross misconduct”.

The coastal politicians have rubbed the party leadership the wrong way by publicly supporting Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

Of course, that is not the party’s position and the members knew that they were transgressing but they remained defiant.

They now risk losing their seats should they be expelled. But they have one more chance to save their seats: A date with the party’s National Executive Council next year.

However, expelling members for expressing divergent views is hardly the conduct that would be expected of a party that has distinguished itself for fighting for democracy. Its final decision must be one that entrenches solid democratic credentials.