Thursday, September 30, 2010



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

September 30, 2010

This Sonko altercation between the Prime Minister and the MP for Gichuru is a blot on Kenya’s reform agenda. It would appear like political party interests are set to threaten the proper implementation of the new constitution.

If political parties can knowingly field candidates with dubious criminal background for elective posts just because there are other thieves and criminals in parliament is sad. We all know that two wrongs do not make a right.

In the three recent by-elections, it is possible that all parliamentary candidates from ODM, ODM-K, PNU, KANU and even NARC Kenya had skeletons in their closets. What probably varied were the sizes and numbers on a scale of one to ten. Yes, nobody can today stand up and claim that only winners are corrupt while losers are saints. Looking at the line up that we saw in Juja, Starehe and Makadara, none of them can today stand the test of integrity at the NIS interrogation room had anyone to call them there for questioning.

However, where reports continue to flow into newsrooms that an individual is a convicted criminal, an escaped convict, a personality with questionable wealth, goes by several set of names and probably owns 200 bank accounts under different names; such a person can be anything but worth a public office.

Just over a month ago, Kenyans swore to the world that a new era had dawned on our land. We said good bye to the old order. It is in this spirit that Kenyans of good will must stand up and be counted when it comes to electing our representatives in Parliament because in that parliament, good laws must be passed in order for us to have a good government. If we allow, for whatever reason to be mesmerized by cheap showmanship, display of obnoxious bling blings from dubious sources of income, we shall have surrendered the soul of this nation to satanic rule. We all remember what the bling bling Artur brothers did to us a few years ago.

We all know that William Ruto, like many other MPs and ministers has a case pending in court since 2003. His case has not been determined for the very reasons the new constitution has compelled the Chief Justice to vacate his office in the next four months. It is also for the same reason the new document has a time line for the current Chief Prosecutor, the Attorney General to vacate his office in the next ten months. It is this procrastination, lethargy and downright inefficiency in our judicial system that no prosecution has ever been concluded on any economic crimes committed against Kenyans since 1990.

Kenyans may well remember that when Narc came to power in 2003, the new party gave Kenyans hope and promised zero tolerance on corruption. MPs, ministers and high ranking government officials were made to declare their wealth. Anti-graft laws were passed in Parliament that set up the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission. However, eight years later, we have yet to prosecute Golden Berg, Anglo Leasing and other masterminds of mega economic crimes let alone concluding William Ruto’s alleged Pipe Line land grab case.

Before the passage of the new constitution, it must be remembered that Kenya was so polarized that some ministers now being cited as tainted campaigned very vigorously to defeat the referendum not because they had any ideological passion to reject the new constitution. It was more of personal interest for the status quo to remain unchanged. However, the Kenyan population had the presence of mind to see through this ploy. We went ahead to pass the new constitution in order to have a fresh start in the way we govern ourselves.

If Parliament has forgotten; it was the culture of impunity that made Kenyans clamour for a new constitution that would improve our governance structures. Because of the same impunity, cases were lost or dismissed in our corridors of justice depending on how important, rich or connected one was. Justice in our system had stopped being blind.

Because of the same impunity, masterminds of the 1992, 1972 and 2007 pre and post election ethnic violence have never been prosecuted despite several commissions of inquiry set up just for such purposes. It is for the same culture that we are yet to conclude the Golden Berg, Anglo Leasing, Grand Regency, Triton and KTB scandals in our judicial system.

Now that we have a new constitution that spells out clearly the ethical benchmarks that guide our governance structures, it pains us to see eminent lawyers and MPs at that trying to tell us to look the other way as fresh crooks get elected to Parliament just because there are older crooks sitting in the august house and cabinet. It is not the way to go and we the people of Kenya who authored our constitution will not accept this affront from our political leaders. The law is the law.

Jerry Okungu publishes Africa News Online

& is the CEO of Kenya-Today newspaper