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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Uhuru goofed big on Judiciary


The remainder of this week will be full of an overflow of conspiracy theories from last week’s shenanigans regarding elections and man-made occurrences. Some incidences that became fodder for propaganda will fade from memory while others will be perceived as facts. The latter will, as usual, be courtesy of paid speaking megaphones on TV and radio going by the much-abused subtitle ‘political analyst’, even when they’re well-known NASA or Jubilee commentators.

The bastardisation of political analysis and the analyst has never reached such a low in Kenya’s history of punditry. I look forward to a quiet moment after the August election to study how the intercession of politics as empty rhetoric and the influence of unrestrained exaggeration called untruth by fake specialists stole an election.

I’d be looking to prove the hypothesis that Kenya media, hallowed in its self-glorying sanctity to tell the truth, abetted a lie on Kenyan people.

Meanwhile, we aren’t anticipating any more gory stories about why, how and by whose sleight of hand the late Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery had to die so mysteriously.

The mystery isn’t in the fact that he died of no known signs of illness – that’s for the pathologists to say. The oddity is in Nkaissery being from the Maa community whose adopted son George Saitoti died in a puzzling chopper crash. Both have died about the same month in an election year while heading the extremely critical security docket. A bad omen? Only soothsayers can tell.

What’s easier to discern is that we’re saddled with an IEBC that is cast in stone. The IEBC is categorical it cannot delete dead voters from its register, as if ghosts are a prized souvenir. You would think the IEBC is inhabited by extremely superstitious fellows who won’t let the dead rest in peace, except that isn’t part of the qualifications for commissioners.

Matters aren’t made any easier when this superstitious influenza streak engulfs the whole body politic in Kenya to the extent that mentioning the IEBC becomes an anathema. Ask Chief Justice David Maranga. He didn’t have to give an opinion before he was hauled into the political pit by none other than President Uhuru Kenyatta.

A visibly angry President only stopped short of swearing ‘haki ya mungu (I swear by God...)’ when he claimed the CJ, and, by extension, the Judiciary, is in cahoots with the opposition NASA to postpone the August 8 election.

What ordinary meaning would one attach to the President saying “I want to tell those in the courts that because we have respected you for a long time, we are not cowards. We cannot accept the courts to be used by those not interested in the election to frustrate the IEBC…”

Substitute “respected” with ‘tolerated’ and ‘used’ by buddies in crimes and you get the President’s drift. Reason? The Judiciary is in cahoots with the opposition NASA to create circumstances to abort the election and instal a transition coalition government.

No protest from LSK and Cotu, and even pleas by NASA that its only goal is to remove Jubilee from power no later than August 8, would cool tempers.

The case against the CJ is his common sense advice to the IEBC that the latter is being pre-emptive printing ballots while cases on nomination appeals haven’t been concluded. Nowhere in two occasions, when alluding to pending matters before the courts, did the CJ seek to influence or pre-empt judgment. Yet it’s in this same plain speaking that the President, edged on by grinning courtiers, accused the Judiciary of interfering with the IEBC.

He may not have intended it, but the President’s ire suspiciously sold him out after the court ruled against the ballot printing tender awarded to Al Ghurair.

Unproven claims have been made about the First Family’s relations with the Al Ghurair owners. The alleged conflict of interest was made clear when the protest about the High Court ruling sounded like a personal loss.

Waywardness aside, there are two issues at play here: Was the President inadvertently attempting to intimidate and threaten the Judiciary into a pliant client? If not, did the President walk a thin line on adhering to the principles of separation of powers and respect for the rule of law? Could he plead ignorance in the court of public opinion?

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