Sunday, December 14, 2008



December 13 2008

Kenya has never been as disunited as it was in January. But we need no longer dwell on the terrible causes of that bloodletting. It is much more rewarding to note that, in December, we are more united than ever before.

That the unity is fragile and can break down at any time is the chief challenge that we face as we enter another January.

How can we strengthen it to make it last forever? All patriots are asking that question.

Even self-seekers should know that they can thrive only if Kenya has a common purpose and is free of ethnic, racial, sectarian, gender and class conflicts; a freedom which we can achieve only if we ensure relative justice to every group.

These conflicts are often artificially created by the cross-purposes and personal ambitions of individual leaders. If we recognise this, then what has happened since the January holocaust may encourage us to claim that we have won half the battle.

In the days just before and after the December elections, it would have been impossible to imagine Mwai Kibaki, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka occupying the same high table and speaking from the same script to lead us in celebrating a National Day.

Before January, we did not know that they were individually capable of drumming up enough courage and sense of responsibility to shelve much of their immediate personal power interests – at least momentarily – in order to lift us all out of the den of Daniel into which we had plunged.

In Africa’s experience since decolonisation -- no matter if you publish foolproof evidence that he rigged the ballot , no matter what pressure the international community may pile --- it is unheard of for the incumbent to agree to share power with any other potentate.

Even in a situation as dangerous as our was 11 months ago, President Kibaki may have been just as keen as leaders all over the continent have been to hang on to and monopolise the power which a bad constitution had allowed Presidents Kenyatta and Moi to amass at State House.

But, clearly, Mr Kibaki recognised the extreme national peril that he might pose by doing so.

That was why he felt obliged to accept the arbitration by Kofi Annan, to sign the agreement that resulted from it and to steer Kenya into the prevailing grand national coalition government.

This also goes for Raila Odinga. Having a huge and highly charged following in most provinces, he was under impossible pressure to accept all or nothing from the President.

But, clearly recognising the dangers that such obstinacy might pose nationally, he rejected it.

Like Mr Kibaki, Mr Odinga sued for negotiations, accepted the Annan ruling and agreed to play what was merely second fiddle, as Prime Minister, in the ensuing arrangement.

Mr Musyoka also played his part. In Shakespeare’s words, he “…must be known no less to have done so…”

But the cynics also have a point. It is that these three were mere opportunists. The President was accepting the pact merely because it pacified the situation while confirming him in power.

The other two accepted it merely because it put them on pedestals from which they could easily spring into that power redoubt. I do not disagree.

But the question is: Who can call himself a politician if he does not concern himself with such questions of tactics? Who will find fault with a politician just because he pays studious attention to details on how to move upwards on Jacob’s Ladder?
If, on the tactical level, politicians seek to do things that popularise them – and if the joint acceptance of the Annan system popularised these three politicians -- then it killed two birds with one stone: If it aggrandised them, it also saved Kenya from disaster. So who is complaining?

I complain only against the forces bent on undermining that unity even as we celebrate our independence and approach a new January.

Ndugu Mwai, Ndugu Raila and Ndugu Kalonzo are pleading with us to thrash out the extant divisive problems -- such as poverty, crime, Waki, Kivuitu and MPs’ remunerations -- one purpose.

But Parliament continues to insist on steering this nation in the other direction – in the direction of darkness, teeth-gnashing and death.

The irony is poignant and painful. The executive is the branch we usually identify with self-interested, short-term policies and actions.

In our situation, however, the legislative – our constitutional watchdog against executive injustices – is the one undermining executive efforts to put Kenyans on a new pedestal of unity, peace, comradeship, hard work and productivity.

That is the question I pose to the civil society: What do we do with a constitutional body when – by publicly and defiantly shirking its responsibilities --it declares itself the public’s enemy number one?

Submitted by obiero76
Posted December 14, 2008 09:32 AM

Did i see the committee chair of this parliamentary committee that trashed the law to overhaul Eck as another brother from NEP?and he looks young too.Disappointed is the only word remaining,i'm usually careful not to use it frequently though.

Submitted by edenskid
Posted December 14, 2008 01:12 AM

Only one language: protest and make parliament unworkable. Ring parliament with human fences. Protest until they turn from their wicked ways. Look at how they do it in Greece. Or in Thailand. Our peace, our silence is a nod to them to do evil. Let us not be silent.