Lately, it appears as though breaking the law is the new normal. All politicians are talking about the need to follow the rule of law, only they mean the exact opposite.
Take the vetting of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominees this week. Firstly, the President departed from a clear tradition sending only nine nominees despite the fact that all the re-appointed CSs should have undergone fresh vetting and taken oath of office. This act of defiance makes it appear as though there were no elections in 2017 that brought him back to power.
It’s instructive to note that this is a second term for which the President took oath of office and was handed the instruments of power. Otherwise he could have told us that since we have reappointed him-through elections, there’s no need to take another oath; but it’s just hard for Jubilee to do the right thing.
One would expect therefore that the 12th Parliament as the institution that directly wields the people’s power would demand the Executive abide by the law but no, they’re there to catch a cold when the Executive sneezes.
And the opposition by choosing to abscond the vetting process, have in one single act sealed the fate of Kenyans with this Jubilee farce. It’s hypocritical for NASA to keep off the vetting exercise in the name of ‘illegitimate government’ yet continue to draw salaries and allowances for work not done and from an institution they appear to have little respect for. Failing to attend Parliamentary sessions is nothing short of contempt.
Kenyans therefore are left with a government that is showing disinterest in upholding the rule of law and an opposition that is more interested in holding press conferences- abandoning every opportunity to challenge the government through the available legal channels anchored in the constitution like Parliament.
What is even worrisome is the fact that Parliament appears okay with their hard stance. Jubilee lawmakers are willing to move on and rubberstamp the Executive orders without their NASA counterpart making the process an exclusive Jubilee affair. NASA appears willing to entertain this in the hope that it will paint Jubilee as the selfish group. What both opposition and government leaning MPs make light of is that this is the stuff that breaks nations.
In their book Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and his co-author James Robinson argue that lack of inclusivity in political institutions is recipe for failure for any nation. And inclusivity, they reason is reinforced by the constitution that preaches separation of powers. They go on to argue giving examples of poor and rich countries that the difference is the latter has institutions that are inclusive and can check the power. That in such countries, power truly lies with the people as envisioned in their constitution.
What we are witnessing is the usurping of Parliament’s power by the Executive through any means possible and showing contempt towards the Judiciary arm of government. This is despite our often termed progressive constitution and a seemingly rudderless opposition that is one minute forming a parallel government and asking for elections the next. This is perhaps the most confusing time for any Kenyan.
It’s time we, the people take up our rightful place in this country. The 2010 constitution was voted for by 67% clear majority. This majority must rise up once again to defend this sacred document before our politicians reduce it to a useless document. Lest we find ourselves with no country to protect.
This is a call to all freedom loving Kenyans to put aside their political differences, realizing that the elected leaders are either hypnotized by power or completely disoriented by inability to clinch power to offer any useful and much needed leadership. Let’s defend this constitution for the sake of our country.