Wednesday, November 5, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
November 2, 2008

As we wait with baited breath for the outcome of the US elections, here back home, some of Kenya’s parliamentarians are beginning to show signs of idiocy, lack of common decency and distaste for any challenge to their privileged positions. This ability to look at issues from a purely tribal standpoint is beginning to heighten public distaste for the current parliament.

Right now, the main gripe among politicians is that the Waki Report is likely to derail their political careers. Although not all MPs are likely to be candidates for the tribunal, a number have started beating tribal war drums claiming that their communities are at risk of being finished politically.

However, let us hold our horses and think logically about three issues that are irking our MPs the most. First it was the Kipsigis MPs who claimed they had been marginalized when the coalition cabinet was formed. They thought Raila Odinga had favored the Nandis, Turgens and Pokots over them. For this reason, they lurched on to the Mau Forest as an excuse to scuttle his proposal to relocate Mau forest settlers into other areas in order to preserve the only vast water catchment area that feeds most parts of East. Because they missed cabinet posts; they were ready to sacrifice Mau Forest and the rest of the populations in the East African region!
Hardly had the Mau Forest been settled than Philip Waki dropped his bombshell. The fact that Waki presented a report that accused top politicians and businessmen from both sides of the political divide has suddenly united lawmakers that hitherto had not seen eye to eye for various reasons.

Joining the fray has been a group of MPs that have been spoiling for a fight with the government since the cabinet was formed. For the last six months, they have been pushing for a grand official opposition in parliament contrary to normal coalition government practice worldwide. On seeing the Waki report, they have grabbed it as a weapon to punish the two people that they think were responsible for excluding them from the gravy train.

Without a thought to the implications of the Waki report, now they are vilifying it for being unconstitutional and shoddy! Extremists in ODM have gone ahead to reject the document in toto even before the cabinet has had a chance to discuss it.

True, the Waki Commission may have not been perfect in its findings however, it will be a grave mistake for the current parliament to fail to set up a tribunal as per the report. If it fails to do so in the days stipulated; Kenya will join the growing list of states that are incapable of administering justice in their home countries. This country will have joined Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Bosnia since the Rome Statute was ratified and put into effect in 2002.

In their naiveté, some MPs think they can pass a vote of no confidence in Raila Odinga and choose another MP from the Rift Valley to replace him as Prime Minister. If they think they can investigate Raila’s past and link it with whatever his father did; let them think again. Let them remember the pain Jomo Kenyatta, Moi, YK92 and other leading politicians have inflicted on Kenyans for 45 years.

These MPs have forgotten that they did not elect Raila Odinga as Prime Minister. What in fact they did was to hurriedly amend the constitution and rubberstamp the choice of Raila as earlier sealed in the National Accord Agreement at Serena Hotel.

Raila Odinga draws his mandate from a negotiated settlement chaired by Kofi Annan under the auspices of the UN and the AU. If today some of these misguided MPs push a vote of no confidence in Raila Odinga; he will walk out with his signature and render the accord dead. If that happens, the coalition government will be dissolved and all MPs will go home for another round of elections! Can they afford to risk it?

Hon Sambili is reported to have wept at the thought that Rift Valley leaders suffered for Raila yet Raila is now abandoning them. Wouldn’t it have been better if she had wept for the dead and the displaced IDPs of the whole country? Who will weep for those Kalenjin boys that were shot by the police and those helpless Kalenjin women that were raped by security forces? So much for your tears Honorable Sambili!