Will the Legislature Stand to be counted?

Posted by on 4th September 2017

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The government has three arms namely: Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. Each independent and guided by the Constitution. However, the independence of the two arms from the Executive has been mostly a mirage.

In our over 50years of self-rule, the Executive always appeared to strong arm both the Judiciary and the Legislature; at least until the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution when the President’s powers were trimmed.

The Supreme Court’s nullification of the August 8th presidential results therefore is important because it affirms; if at all there was doubt, that the Judiciary is independent and free of Executive influence.

Indeed even after the new Constitution – never mind it has been seven years – the two arms of government struggled to show their independence.

The 11th Parliament which was the first House to come under the new Constitution acted for the better part of its term as a rubberstamp for the Executive completely showing lack of independence.

Legislature is by Wanjiku’s lens a most important arm of government because it is the voice of Wanjiku and its independence should be as clear as day is from night, yet remains the most prone to abuse by Executive.

The MPs elected owe their loyalty to the party more than the people. Sadly, these parties are owned by the politicians and MPs therefore do their bidding. Take the election of Speaker Muturi and Lusaka for instance.

President Uhuru called to Statehouse the MPs and Senators-elect before they took oath of office and impressed upon them the need to elect Muturi and Lusaka respectively. Legislature did what the Executive wanted without thinking what it would mean for Wanjiku-the real people who put them there.

The President owed the former Bungoma governor for the votes he got in Western Kenya and this was how to reward him seeing as he had failed to retain his position. There was no political damage in dumping former Speaker Ekwee Ethuro.

Parliament endorsed him despite the corruption allegations involving the slightly over one million wheelbarrows saga when he was governor. They conveniently hid under IEBC’s clearance certificate that gave the former him bill of clean health.

Parliament’s independence is further complicated by the fact that even nominated members are first nominated by the same party owners heading the Executive and must therefore toe the party line.

The ability to dangle carrots and sticks by the Executive has turned previously sharp and independent law makers into sycophants rendering them completely useless to Wanjiku.

Parliament becomes lame and dull especially because the people nominated, hardly deserve to be in Parliament. These are friends and cronies of party owners whose job is nothing but to ask how high when the Executive says, Jump!

Already President Uhuru boasts majority in both Houses and is confident his agenda will sail because of the infamous tyranny of numbers.

And should the elections coming in 60-days declare Raila winner he will find a most hostile Parliament courtesy of numbers. Which is funny because Parliament appears independent only when the President has few members in the House.

As the people who make laws that both the Executive and the Judiciary abides by the independence of the Legislature has never been more important.

The historic Supreme Court ruling was a first in Africa. Every pundit thought it would be impossible to overturn the election of an incumbent, yet it did thereby stamping its foot as an independent institution.

Will Parliament borrow a leaf and give us laws that reflect their independence and the will of Wanjiku? We are tired of the bickering from political parties and endless showdowns about party dominance.

We can only hope the lawmakers in the 12th Parliament will close ranks and remember their duty, first is to the people as representatives and not political party loyalty. We are watching keenly.