By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa
Kenya is the quintessential definition of a country locked in a trap of perpetual election campaigns. Almost two months since the promulgation of the new constitution you would think that our leaders are now squarely focused on its implementation. You would be wrong.
Our law makers seem to have eschewed the implementation process for more ‘presidential’ matters. So far a number of our leaders have announced their presidential bids for 2012. In the past month Gichugu MP Martha Karua, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, and William Ruto, have cast their hats into the lot. Polls to find out the national favourites for president have been conducted. Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa cast his bid as early as February 2010.
Given the ever increasing number of presidential bids it is obvious that the campaign train has left the station and is moving full steam ahead at ever increasing speed with no intention of slowing down. Never mind that we still have a constitution to implement. The question is how does a country with its leaders constantly on the campaign trail implement a constitution? In a context, in which from past experience we can predict a veritable rat race for the presidency, and newly created seats, constant aligning and realigning of parties, and quicksilver creation, demolition and reformation of alliances, how do we do ensure that the job of implementing the constitution gets done?
A realistic look at our context reveals that it is improbable, though not impossible with hard work and focus, that all the over 30 implementing bills, with a 1-2 year deadline for enactment will be passed before the next election. It is therefore imperative that we call on our leaders to prioritise the enactment of legislation that will ensure smooth transition between the present administration and the next one in the 2012 election.
Which laws should we prioritise? In my opinion, we should prioritise implementation of electoral laws, outlined in Chapter 7 of the new constitution on representation of the people. These include the legislation on elections, electoral disputes, and legislation on political parties. Enactment of electoral laws to ensure an open and transparent election process and laws to put in place peaceful and clear procedures for resolving election disputes is critical to averting the sort of crisis we saw in 2007.
The laws on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission are also crucial to delineate the countries new administrative zones and oversee the election process. Currently there are two separate commissions overseeing elections and boundaries and both are interim commissions.
Enabling legislation for chapter 11 on the devolved government is essential. Issues of devolution are certain to come up in 2012. Devolution of government introduces new structures and institutions while simultaneously dismantling others. This process if not properly legislated for devolution presents a site for major conflict or major corruption. Comprehensive legislation is need to police the transition to devolution, assuring provisional administrators that they will not lose their positions is not sufficient.
Last but not least legislation on chapter 6 on leadership and integrity, the ethics anti-corruption commission deserves priority, both in the face of ongoing scandals and to ensure that there is a filtering process for individuals who will be vying for positions in 2012.
To our leaders I say this is my road map. Show me yours!