Waxing lyri… political

I don’t do politics – not generally. I don’t have any deep-seated opinions on this whole who-rules-who-how-where thing. I know that I have my new purple pinkie though I think the old one looked cooler. This one is all soft, wishy-washy, and the photo looks worse the one on my ID, which is a feat in itself.

I don’t plan to vote yes or no … which is an extremely daft admission. Why? Because saying ‘constitution’ makes people think you’re smart, even when they have no clue what you’re on about.

And that’s my problem. I like to look smart. I’m supposed to know about stuff like this. But I’ve read the constitution – the old one. Scratch that – I’ve tried to read the constitution. I didn’t get very far. Why? Because it’s boring. Incomprehensible as well, but mostly boring.

Yes, I know, I know, I have just shot my credibility to hell by equating this holy grail document to counting sheep. Truth is I want to get all excited about contentious issues and bills of rights and Bomas and typos and all, but thing is, the little of it I read, I couldn’t understand! It’s all in legalese.

The major things that bother me are naturalisation and joint citizenship. Also, abortion. But when I tried to read those sections, all I heard was blah-blah-blah-a-female-cannot-transfer-citizenship-to-her-spouse. Meh.

Now, if somebody would take out all the lawyer-speak and put in some color-coding and a pretty little flow-chart…

Sample this:

Article 345 section 27 (b) states that marriage shall be between any legal persons aged between the years of 1987 and 2056 living within the refined borders of the Former East African British Protectorate heretofore known as Mt Kirinyagaland, and referred to in sections (c) and (d) respectively, as governed by the statutes of…

Translation: No/Yes to gay marriage?

Bottom line remains that few people will read the constitution, old or new. And of the few that read it, fewer will understand it. And then some will agree with it, and some will yell that religion is allowed in some courts. The people who will vote will do so because their mother/sister/pastor/third-cousin’s-ex-wife–twice-removed told them to.

Others will vote because they were swayed by whomever yelled loudest, sounded smartest, made the most sense or carried the biggest stick – whether or not the person knew what they were saying. The only people who will vote intelligently are … I don’t know … lawyers? [Of whom a frightening number are MPs yelling and callously swaying their minions. Scary thought that.]

Also, others will vote because they prefer oranges to bananas. Something about climaxes and felatio, I have no idea.

I suppose that translating it into layman’s terms is the work of the whatsitcalled, the civic education process. But that might largely consist of people yelling their opinions through megaphones with Homeboyz  or **insert appropriate road-show-crew here** in the background. And I expect phrasing these laws in common English will dilute the stature of our learned friends. But really now, I’d like to have a sensible discussion about, say, kadhi’s courts, without quoting twenty-six subclauses.

Who even says things like clause?

And while we’re on the subject of kadhi’s courts, pilipili usiyoila yakuwashia nini? Why are Christians so bugged about a legal process that doesn’t govern them? Could someone civically educate me on this? As at now, I really don’t see the big deal. Resident DR lawyer-types: help please?

The way I see it, our new constitution, if we ever get one, is going to be a combination of symbolism and fluke. Then we’ll be stuck with it until the next rainbow revolution. And to think, all this can be solved with some pretty flow charts.

Now to see if I can find the pdf version I ripped off a twitter RT some time back and actually read it. Crayons anyone?


For more information on 3CB, click here.

7 thoughts on “Waxing lyri… political

  1. Well, the problem with the Kadhi courts is that there is going to be two legal systems.The Kadhi courts are going to adjudicate on issues of inheritance, marriage and children of the Muslim brethren. Now this will be done in accordannce with Islamic law. The problem is that depending on where the claim starts, outcome could be different. So a man may want to go to a Kadhi court on issues of divorce since he would be more favoured there whereas a woman would want to go to a normal court. By not separating religion and State, then you are going to have two sets of laws.

    that’s awfully subjective though … and a little sneaky. If they were married under Islamic law, they should divorce under Muslim law, no? No reason why all the other Sharia abiding Muslims should be victimised. Besides, nobody forces anyone to go to the Kadhi, so I really think we should just live and let live on that one …

    • I couldn’t agree more on live and let live. You can also appeal the unfavourable kadhi’s courts decision to a regular court or opt out of going to the kadhi’s court entirely. Choice.

      Besides as noted, if you get married under say, Kikuyu customary law, and you chose to divorce under the same, gava actually lets you do so. That is more freedom then even folks in the US have.

      To most Muslims, there is no line between culture and religion, for most Christians there is. Thus, allowing them a determination via religion of domestic matters is hardly an elevation of Islam over anyone else. Besides, that’s beent he law since independence and I’d like to see one person who can genuinely argue that Muslims have had it better that anyone else in Kenya since.

      Just saying.

  2. There does seems an inordinate obsession with Kadhis courts by the very people who have absolutely nothing to do with it.

    Add to that the nonsense about the doc allegedly promoting abortion and gay marriage, and I feel like I’m deep in the heart of the Bible Belt in the US where ignorance is worn like a badge of honour.

    They forget to read that not just Islamic law is recognised as pertains to family law, but other religions and traditional laws as well, so long as both parties are sawa with it. Besides, one can always appeal to the secular courts…


    But again we are Kenyan

    As at now, I’m veering green …

  3. I had put a status update on facebook regarding flawed interpretation of the proposed constitution and got comments from a very educated fellow which made me realize that even the most intelligent of us are confused. The sad part is, millions of us going to vote will not attend a single civic education forum. And am not refering to political rallies with yakety yaks. CoE forums where you c an ask questions on matters that you feel you dont understand. CoE has a handbook guide very colorful you will like it. pick one at Delta House Chiromo rd next to Caltex in Westlands when you can

    will do, thank you!

  4. Pingback: Me & My Purple Finger « Diasporadical

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s