By Jerry Okungu
March 19, 2013
Indeed we are in a spin. Nobody really knows what the outcome will be when CJ Mutunga and his fellow wise members of the bench will read out that all earth breaking verdict.
Assuming that the Supreme Court holds the verdict of the IEBC that indeed Uhuru Kenyatta won the presidency, Raila Odinga will most likely accept the verdict and move on with his life in the knowledge that he explored all legal avenues in the land to seek justice. He will leave the political scene with a clear conscience that he never did anything untoward that might have plunged the country into another round of turmoil. What no one can predict would be how the millions of Kenyans who lined up and voted for him all over the country that sunny Monday would take the final verdict. It will be a very uneasy peace that will haunt Kenyans for many years to come.
As I see it, the future of one Kenya right now belongs in the hands of CJ Mutunga and his bench. The ruling must be convincing and persuasive to both Jubilee and Cord followers such that there is no doubt in any body’s mind when it is delivered. It must not just be fair but must be seen to be fair for both parties.
This heavy burden does not belong to the Supreme Court alone. Both lawyers of the petition and defense must convince ordinary Kenyans who will be following the proceedings that they have legal facts to convince the nation that this case was not about political bad blood between Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta but rather a test for democracy, rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in dispensing justice fairly based on facts presented before them.
However , even before the petition is heard and determined; before the President –elect and his deputy are sworn in, strange things have started happening that may scare Kenyans who have been used to freedom of association and expression in the last 10 years under Mwai Kibaki.
Suddenly Kenyans are being warned left and right by all sorts of civil servants and security personnel about this and that crime. Peace has become the blanket to cover all sorts of indiscretions of our rulers.
The newly appointed Inspector General of Police seems keen on reintroducing draconian brute force that the police were known for during Moi’s era. Already his boys have injured two innocent Kenyans whose only crime was to take part in a peaceful demonstration in support of the petition.
And to cup it all, the same day he banned all “illegal public gatherings” that also included open air religious prayer meetings. One wonders how such backward thinking can bring peace and unity in a country that is already so polarized. Is this how the police should deal with ordinary people of this country? Where is the Police Oversight Commission to interrogate these blatant violations of our civil liberties that are entrenched in our constitution?
If David Kimaiyo our new Police Chief does not know, the freedom Kenyans enjoy today did not come on a silver platter. It was not a Christmas gift either. There are people who suffered for it and paid the ultimate prize. For this reason, Kenyans may never give up their freedoms easily. They may have to go back to the trenches if need be.
It is indeed true Uhuru Kenyatta is now President-elect, court petition challenging his election notwithstanding. Nobody should begrudge him of that because he didn’t sign his own victory certificate. Somebody else did that and handed it over to him in a public forum.
Having said that, it was curious to see how the national security apparatus handled Uhuru right from the time he was declared the winner. Suddenly he had a presidential limo complete with a flag and unmarked security detail that most probably rivaled that of the sitting Head of State. Which begs my next question; do we have two heads of state at the moment?
A week later, he took a most deserved holiday to the South Coast and how did he travel to there? He took two Air Force jets one for him and the other for his wife to get there!
As I watched these jets landing in South Coast, I counted the number of passengers from each one of them. I didn’t see much. All I saw was Uhuru and his “Aide de Camp” and a few hangers on who had lost elections coming from the first jet. When his wife Margaret landed, it was the same story.
I tried to scratch my head to recall when any sitting Head of State including Kenya’s President Kibaki has ever done such a thing. And I asked myself the one fundamental question; if the President –elect can begin to indulge in such reckless spending of public resources even before he is sworn in, how will it be once he is installed in office? How will he control public spending in his government? What was so difficult in using one Air Force Jet for both of them? Or better still, why not Kenya Airways and pick a small plane to land him and his wife in Diani beach?
If I were Uhuru Kenyatta, I would hold my horses until this petition against me is over with because once you have tasted power it will be very difficult to relinquish it. It can lead you to make many irrational decisions.