Friday, June 29, 2012



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
June 28, 2012

So Mutava Musyimi, the man we almost made a compromise candidate in 2002 now wants to legalize party hopping in parliament! The good man of the cloth who for years masqueraded as a reformer, champion of good governance and disciplined politics now sees nothing wrong with the chaotic political culture forced on Kenyans by ill mannered MPs! This indeed is a major transformation on the part of the MP for Gachoka.

But again, one must appreciate the dilemma Mutava Musyimi must have found himself in. Here is a man who was elected to parliament five years ago on some party I cannot even remember but seems to have shifted his loyalty to the Democratic Party under which he hopes to become Kenya’s fourth president.

It is therefore not so much as a question of belief in something noble like principle to have compelled him to move such a motion in parliament to legalize party hopping. And like Martha Karua described his action; his advocating for party promiscuity or prostitution had all to do with self preservation because the good reverend is also politically promiscuous.

If Mutava does not like or care for political party discipline, how will he care for discipline in his government should he win the presidency? Obviously he will not have the moral authority to discipline his errant subordinates in the cabinet. They will defy him left and right and all he will do is to turn a blind eye as chaos and graft reign in his administration.

When MPs passed the Political Parties’ Act earlier in the life of this parliament, what were they thinking? When Parliament created the office of the Registrar of Political Parties with wide powers to discipline politicians and bring sanity in our politics, what were they thinking of? Did Mutava Musyimi attend those debates in Parliament? Is Musyimi now telling us that we should abolish the office of the Registrar of Political Parties?

All this mess in Parliament is a consequence of an Attorney General that is fast becoming an anti-reform agent in the august house. In fact the more Kenyans come into contact with Githu Muigai, the more they will start missing good old Amos Wako. Kenyans are slowly realizing that with their new AG, they may have literally jumped from a frying pan into the fire.

Without the timely intervention of the President and public demonstrations by the civil society groups, parliament was ready to vouch for presidential candidates to contest as many seats as they want in the next election.

Had they been allowed to get away with it, our parliament would have been the first in the world to grossly abuse its privileged position by passing into law a bill that insults its citizens.

If you look at this bill carefully, it is not hard to see those that were behind it. They were not the ordinary poor MPs. The unseen hands were those presidential aspirants who had declared their interests in the presidency but deep down in their hearts, were aware that they stood one chance in a million to win the presidency. Therefore being on the ballot box as presidential candidates was merely to raise their profiles so that they could easily be elected as senators, MPs or governors.

However, like I said last week in this column, such a scenario would have resulted in numerous by-elections so soon after the general elections, an act that would have increased the election budget unnecessarily. Does the Kenyan tax payer have so much cash to waste on unnecessary by elections? I don’t think so.

Take the case of the mediocre bill that sought to lower the academic levels of MPs from university graduate to form four school leaver; how will a form four school leaver be able to vet a professor who will be appointed a cabinet secretary ,the Auditor General, Governor of the Central Bank or commissioners of the many constitutional commissions? How can the same parliament raise the bar for judges, various commissioners and the Executive staff such as Cabinet Secretaries but lower its own standards to bear minimum? How can we prefer mediocrity and ignorance over knowledge and expertise in this day and age?

If indeed parliamentarians have such low opinion of education in this country, what message are they sending to the youth of this country? They are reaffirming to the youth that education has no consequence in this country as long as you can lay your hands on unexplained wealth.

With these developments in that august house, Kenyans of all walks of life have to take the painful and drastic step of safeguarding the reforms that came with the new constitution. It is time Kenyans went beyond merely condemning these retrogressive bills. The movers of these bills must be singled out, named and shamed so that they can begin to feel the heat and realize that Kenyans have had enough of their arrogant mediocrity.

On this score, Kenyans must find it rude and unacceptable to tolerate the arrogance of Hon Abdi Kadir Mohammed, the chairman of the parliamentary Constitution Oversight Committee. He has no business attacking Charles Nyachae the Chairman of the CIC and even claim that Nyachae is illiterate on parliamentary processes.

Kadir Mohammed must be reminded that being in parliament does not make him the most knowledgeable legal mind in Kenya. If he wants Kenyans to respect him; he must resist the temptation to think he has the monopoly of knowledge on matters constitutional. He must respect constitutional institutions established by Parliament. He should also remember that the Kenyan Constitution belongs to the People of Kenya; not the National Assembly.