On Sunday Kenyans celebrate the 7th Anniversary since the promulgation of the new Constitution. People celebrate anniversaries for many varied reasons depending on the occasion; but by far the common and most important is remembering the commitment made on that day.
On Sunday therefore we shall remember the commitment we made when we chose to articulate our issues in one document we call the Constitution.
The years prior to the promulgation of the new Constitution saw the country plundered and looted to astronomical levels. Corruption was the modus operandi and elected leaders were a law unto themselves.
Among the many things we set to correct with the new Constitution was having servant leaders who respected the office they were taking up and indeed the people who put them there. Chapter Six remains the proof of that commitment.
Indeed we knew there could be some wolf in sheep’s clothing so we made a commitment to winnow them out by recalling them before their term ends. Chapter 8 on the Legislature confirms this in Article 104.
Why then do we still appear helpless seven years after making such a radical commitment? Why has the corruption dragon become so difficult to slay? Why are we still having leaders who are more interested in themselves than the people they represent? Who is to blame?
Today we find ourselves in very familiar waters following MPs-elect provocative tone on pay cuts. It’s déjà vu all over again but some of us would rather we bury our heads in the sand and pretend surprise.
Homabay Women Rep is leading the gang of those who will be taking the battle to SRC door steps. She blasted Salaries and Remuneration Commission SRC in the full glory of cameras that she and others will not stand and watch the commission reduce them to beggars.
Majority Kenyans struggle to get by not the very least people from Homabay, but their Woman Rep, Gladys Wanga thinks Sh.621000 that the SRC pegged the MPs salaries at is not good enough for her.
She is not alone. Millie Odhiambo the newly elected Mbita MP also said in a local TV show that they spend a lot of money during campaigns in her attempt at justifying her colleague’s intent to fight SRC.
Needless to mention it is for this reason that the Constitution mandated IEBC to set campaign spending limits.
When politicians blatantly ignored the gazette notice by IEBC on capping campaign funds what were they saying about their commitment to the Constitution?
If we are to stop re-living this nightmare every five years we must understand why the Constitution begins with, “We the People…” Power belongs to the people and we must demonstrate it now.
Thankfully, not all is lost in this case. Thanks to Katiba Institute the conundrum MPs had put to in the law to make it near impossible to re-call them was defeated after a three-judge bench nullified that law that gave MPs powers to determine who had the right to petition for their recall.
In addition, the court in a petition lodged in 2013 ruled that: “Parliamentarians are expected to operate within the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Parliament, like all other state organs, is not above the law. Members of the National Assembly, like all other state officers, and the National Assembly, like all other state organs are compelled by the Constitution to adhere to the national values and principles of governance found in Article 10 of the Constitution. We therefore agree with the petitioners that the resolution by the National Assembly to nullify the Gazette Notices published by the SRC was unconstitutional.”
As we plan on celebrating the 7th Anniversary of the new Constitution, let the electorate take a cue from the great people of Kiambu County who have set the tone by quickly creating woke groups on telegram WhatsApp and digital spaces to get signatures to recall their Woman Rep, Gathoni Wa Mushomba after her careless remarks on the MPs pay cut.
The former Journalist has since apologized and promised to accept whatever SRC offers. That’s people power. Through the Constitution, Kenyans captured their best hopes and dream for the nation and our best days lie ahead if we all – the public and the arms of government – commit to obey the spirit and letter of the Constitution.