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Which narrative do you belong to???

by Tom Kagwe
Tom Kagwe
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on Aug 12 in Constitutional Reforms

The Story of Kenya in the New Era

Since the promulgation of the new Constitution of Kenya (2010), many narratives are going on and they are very interesting. The first narrative is about those who dared oppose the new order. In this new Kenya, strangely, they have space to do what they want. How about the Church exercising their freedoms and even opposing those who wear earrings or even to writing how the new Constitution ought to be implemented in the spirit of common good? How about Okiya Omtatah (so-called ‘human rights activist’) chaining the office of the Ministry of Education and even writing commentaries about the importance of constitutionalism in the new era? When one sees this narrative, it is worth noting that what they opposed vehemently has now made sense to them in the new era.

The second narrative is about those supported the new Constitution. Some of them were in civil society, and they remain more or less the same mostly under Jukwaa la Katiba initiative and the Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ). These two groups are working hard in protecting the gains, establishing respect for the Constitution and even going to court to enforce it fully. Unfortunately, there are MPs, who have gone full circle to refuse to abide by contents of the new Constitution. By refusing to pay taxes, on all emoluments and allowances given to them since September 2010, MPs are violating the very Constitution that they uplifted and swore to protect and defend. They will pay taxes. No matter how long it takes.

The third narrative is about those who are operating as if the Constitution is not the supreme law. How about House Speaker Marende citing that there is a law that provides for MPs to be excused from paying taxes, yet the new Constitution is crystal clear that all those laws in force before ‘effective date are to be read with modifications, adaptations and exemptions’ to make them conform to the supreme law? How about Uhuru Kenyatta’s attempts to prepare and read a budget in June without recourse to constitutional provisions? How about those district land tribunals exercising powers that they do not have in quashing land title deeds? How about a convoluted Report of the Task Force on Devolved Government, which is clearly maintaining status quo?

The fourth narrative is about those seeking elective offices in the new order. From media reports, it is clear that people are angling, with bare knuckles, for county posts in the new era, even before formation of counties. Some past unsuccessful politicians, some old baggage thrown out by the electorate and also, some professionals are having meetings to position themselves ahead of the 2012 elections. They are seeking to be governors, members of the county assembly, senators and so on. Some even, truthfully, have no idea on what the functions of those offices are, let alone how those posts are to be filled and by what quality of candidates. For example, there will be no governor residing outside a county. If you want to ‘be with the people’, please stay with them! Another example is that most of those positioning themselves will fail integrity and leadership tests. Already there is hue and cry about the heavy burden to the exchequer about those elections, lack of voter education about how many posts are on the ballot, and so on. These are much more important discourses that are missing in these meetings.

The final narrative is about institutional formation in the new era. Some institutions are being formed afresh; some institutions must of necessity be demolished and reconstructed afresh; and, some should be totally transformed. The Supreme Court is largely fresh, and thanks to the Judicial Service Commission, notwithstanding the blunder made in appointments of men (at 71.4 percent) contrary to the Constitution. The vetting of judges must be done, but has faced inordinate delays. Strangely, the police are vetting themselves using psychometric measures (mental stability) only with no regard abuse of powers by police, lack of respect for human rights and so on. They have not even opened up the vetting process to the aggrieved public to make complaints and suggestions. The formation of other institutions is being hampered by bureaucratic turf wars, personal and institutional survival tactics, and so on.

Surely, with the above narratives amongst others, the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has their job perfectly cut for them. They must not waiver or relent. Hard work has begun in earnest. They should move with more speed before Kenyans run haywire in the new era.

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