Dear Honourable/Mheshimiwa Prof./Bishop/Dr./Eng./Mr./Mrs.,
My name is NV and I address this to all 222 of you, noble members of Kenya’s Legislature.
At the referendum ballot, Kenyans spoke unanimously in favour of a new Constitution which was subsequently promulgated by the Head of State. Now we look to you MPs to respect the will of the people and take on your noble job of legislating expeditiously with the best interests of your constituents and the entire nation at heart.
But as we know all too well, parliamentary legislation is often an exercise in contestation. Lies, propaganda and selfish pursuits often come into play. You cannot afford to gerrymander with this monumental task of enacting laws under the new constitution, nor infuse into it diversionary considerations, constructed from political posturing ahead of the 2012 elections.
As a nation, we will be vigilant and ensure that the implementation will follow the timelines laid out in the calendar established in the Fifth Schedule of the constitutional text. In addition to the timetable being respected, we will insist that the content of the legislation you enact must live up to the spirit and letter of the Constitution which inter alia, upholds the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law.
With that said, I would like to make two short points as you embark on your legislative functions at the dawn of Kenya’s new constitutional era.
Firstly, we know that there are those amongst you that will try to influence or tailor to your own selfish interests during the implementation process. Beware of those of your colleagues (‘Watermelons’ and No vote proponents in particular) out to derail the reform process from within by making sure their own hand-picked individuals are embedded in the critical institutions that will be responsible for implementing sections of the constitution. Each of the members appointed to the various constitutional commissions must be men and women of high integrity and honour, qualified professionals and seasoned leaders who will pledge their allegiance to the Constitution and not to the powerful political individuals that appointed them. In this regard, I must give you a comparison case to prove this point. There are two vital commissions created by Parliament in the last two years. These are the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and the other is the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission. The former was entrusted with a young lawyer, unblemished and fresh. The latter was saddled with a man who made a name during an era and dispensation that is despised. These two institutions have gone in different directions. One is stuck in mire principally because of the leadership. The other is flying high.
Secondly, I urge you to refrain from premature debate on the need to amend the new constitutional dispensation in a misguided bid to address the so-called ‘contentious issues’. In this regard, you will be reigniting the heated Yes-No ideological and political debates that polarized the country in the run-up to the Referendum. Your business is to respect the wishes of the majority of Kenyans that overwhelmingly said ‘Yes’ to this legal document and go about your constitutionally-mandated role of enacting the necessary laws needed in this country. Who knows, perhaps at the end of your mandate some of you might be re-elected in 2012.
PS: Please pronounce “conscientiously” for me….. Just checking.