Kenya’s Proposed Constitution: The Good, The Bad and The Ugali

Sometime in the last decade (’97 to be exact), former president Moi rhetorically asked, in one of his infamous road-side declarations, whether filling the vacant position of Vice-President (by either re-appointing Saitoti or appointing someone else) would add plates of ugali to Kenyan homes.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard this same ‘ugali’ phrase being used by some of the politically apathetic/cynical/indifferent/non-voter’s-card-having folk I hang out with vis-a-vis the proposed constitution. If I understand them correctly, this constitutional making process is nothing more than another political game of wits that has nothing to do with creating a new legal and social order for Kenya. Therefore they argue that the proposed Constitution, if it passes, will not make a difference to: a) their lives; and b) to the average Kenyan.

Of course I beg to differ with those propositions. How it will make a difference to all these naysayers depends on them. Does the proposed Constitution provide an environment for them to set up and run their businesses and hence get more ugali? I’d argue Yes. But that also depends on how it affects the ordinary Kenyan.

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