The statement, there are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interests finally sunk in for majority Kenyans after President Uhuru stood on the steps of his Harambee office side-by-side with his political nemesis and promised a new Kenya.
That leaders can work together regardless of whichever corner of the country they come from is a blessing and indeed worth encouraging. In fact part of the reason this country has little to show despite going to the polls every so often is the seemingly permanent campaign mood that keeps us busy but taking us nowhere.
The President and the former Prime Minister both said, their interest was Kenya and none of them or rather no leader was bigger than Kenya. Whether this interest was Kenyan or of two people; only Parliament can help us figure. And this can only be done if Parliament resolves to work as a representative of the people and not the Executive.
While we are happy the constant bickering and grandstanding that was affecting the economy and all Kenyans by extension is over and that opposition MPs will stop absconding Parliamentary business and give us proper return on the taxes we are investing in the form of their salaries; we however must remain vigilant and demand that beyond attending House business, MPs will not close ranks to the point that they become useless to the public.
Already ODM faction of NASA has wasted no time to close ranks with their Jubilee counterparts. The mood in Parliament right now is merry, considering Jubilee had majority seats already and with ODM wing of NASA also commanding the biggest number in opposition, there’s nothing that can stand on their way at the moment. Both sides are now trumpeting President Uhuru’s big four agenda; a little too confidently that one fears ODM has been co-opted in a manner that might keep them from performing their oversight role.
As Raila Odinga noted in their joint statement with the President that day, this country is deeply divided along tribal lines. And though Raila Odinga mentioned, rightly that the focus on institutional reforms did not yield the desired results among others hence the need to change tact, it is important to note that these problems cited are very much entrenched within Parliament.
Take for instance that strange case where a good number of MPs threatened to remove from office the Health Cabinet Secretary for suspending, rightly, the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) CEO. The MPs feel obliged to ‘protect one of their own’ needless to mention anybody under investigation has to step-aside as part of government procedure.
These MPs didn’t care that someone who did not deserve to be operated on was operated on. They don’t care that women are complaining they’re being raped or the many problems bedeviling an institution that majority Kenyans use. Rather than trying to get to the root of the problem; they choose to ‘protect their own’ instead of letting justice take its course.
Sadly, it’s something that’s becoming fashionable for MPs to come to the defense of the CEO of a government parastatal without thinking much about how weighty some of these issues are. Only a few days ago, another group of MPs have also given similar threats to Environment CS over the suspension of staff at the Kenya Forest Services.
Again as noted in that joint press statement, the institutions in these country are yet to deliver. We have it would appear, institutions that were hurriedly formed to serve purposes for which either they are not equipped enough to handle or were merely constituted for purposes of subterfuge, subterfuge here is to create an impression of progress with no intent for the same. The people being hoodwinked in this case are the donors who insists on such things as zero tolerance to corruption.
If we’re to use the joint statement by the President and the opposition chief as the yard-stick upon which we’re to judge this country going forward it is imperative then that we make even more demands on Parliament seeing as it is the body charged with making laws and by extension responsible for the faulty institutions that have not lived up to their expectations and indeed the toxic politics that nearly tore the country apart over secession talks.
The President and his opposition counter-part said, they are keen to ensure Kenya does not disintegrate on their watch-loosely translated to mean both are keen on their legacies. This is a personal matter for both of them. Our MPs should also ask themselves, what legacy they are planning to leave behind as it is not a guarantee that one will be MP again in 2022.
Thankfully we have MPs like Mohamed Ali, the former KTN Journalist who pricked the conscience of Parliament by explaining how the challenges of the common man were different from that of MPs. It was a refreshing site to behold and frankly quite uplifting.
We need peace and stability to function in this country and for that we commend President Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga; however, we also need to see the end of electoral injustice in this country. We want to see the end of police brutality in this country. We want a Kenya where public officials step aside when caught up in scandals until they’re cleared and not marshalling MPs from their areas for defense. We want to see a Kenya where the Auditor General gives reports of misappropriation of funds and people go to jail. All these can happen if MPs take up their rightful position.