I am writing to you from a country where generations have grown up fearing the government. A country that has never been free.
In the past, there were several particularly oppressive periods, among them the colonial era during the Mau Mau times then later during the last years of Kenyatta’s regime and ofcourse the Moi era. Granted, during the latter era, Kenyans were griped by a palpable fear of secret police, disappearances, detentions, dungeons, Nyayo torture chambers, persecution of individuals and their family and so forth. This type of fear, I am happy to report, has been largely neutralized by the current regime of President Kibaki.
However, the fear that currently grips citizens of this country is the fear that the government continues to do stupid things and endangers the two public goods most valued by the citizenry: law and order, and the improvement of the economy that benefits all.
Uhuru Kenyatta: The Desperate Kicks of a Wounded Horse
I will not attempt to explain his recent vernacular outbursts hurled at his two main rivals: Martha Karua and Raila Odinga. I believe his questionable conduct and unsavoury words have put the country in an awkward position and could potentially stoke the embers of ethnic hostilities. In his defence, with the kind of nightmares he must undoubtedly be having, I’d be on an alcohol drip too, chain-smoking cigarettes and taking whatever else I could get my hands on. UK is a very very desperate man as he stares dead in the face at a possible conviction at the Hague-based International Criminal Court, dwindling hopes of filling his father’s shoes as President of the Republic and wavering support among members of his own community largely due to the formidable opposition posed by Martha Karua. Being a Kenyatta isn’t what it used to be, nothing will be handed to you on a silver platter and nothing belongs to you by right anymore. Therefore, UK has to fight to remain in government come 2012 just to ensure that the excesses of his family never see the light of day especially where land acquisition and ownership is concerned.
In the meantime, UK will have to carry his own cross as he seeks to push on with his campaigns to be Kenya’s next president. His is the desperate hope is that his new “no-holds-barred” approach to his political adversaries will gain him popular support both within Central Kenya and country-wide. He must also juggle his presidential ambitions with his official duties, to steer this country’s economy with sound and clear economic policies, as the Minister of Finance.
Marende: The Thin Line Between Law and Politics
You know you’re doing your job well, when people start hating you for it. This best sums up Marende’s current position. Today, PNU MPs together with ODM-rebel MPs intend to make Marende pay for doing his job by impeaching him on the floor of the House. His crime? Not taking the President’s side in the on-going constitutional debate over key nominations to public offices.
This was his dilemma: Following the Constitution to the letter seemed to favour his party ODM while a selective interpretation and application of the constitutional provisions in question would support the President’s nominations and set a precedent for future nominations still be made under the Constitution. He clearly made his choice, for the greater good of this country as has been widely agreed, but now he must carry his cross and hope that today’s Vote of No Confidence motion does not pass.
Taming the Political Animal in the August House
There is something inexplicably sad that happens to right-thinking members of society once they enter politics. A sort of intellectual lobotomy, if you will, whereby they cease to be the university professors, medical doctors, engineers, respected lawyers they were before. It’s almost as if politics reduces you to the lowest common denominator: primitive survival and the accumulation of power and wealth. Distinguishing an educated MP from his or her illiterate colleague is practically impossible as the political animal in all of them is born and fights tooth and nail for its political survival. With some, this political animal rears its ugly head from time to time and for the majority, the political animal takes over leaving only shells of the people they once were. Out of the 222 MPs in our Parliament, there are but a handful that can spare a thought for the constituents they represent or the oath of office they took to serve the country. Now, we have a new Constitution which gives our Parliament a strict timetable to enact a wide array of legislation to bring our country’s laws in conformity with the constitutional dispensation. The Legislature must also continue to serve as an important watch-dog over the actions of the Executive so as to ensure that there are checks and balances. These tasks are proving increasingly difficult especially when the partisan self-serving interests of the 2012 Elections are factored in.
What remains to be seen is whether, under Marende’s leadership, soberness will prevail in the House so that the legislative agenda will proceed swiftly and procedurally so as to have the mandated institutions and legal frameworks in place before 2012.