Signs of a maturing democracy all around us
The media is often accused of sensationalism and of giving more attention to bad news than good. There may be some truth in that; but in any given week, there is plenty of good news to be found in our pages, if you will only look for it. Take the Friday, July 20 paper for example: On the cover is a photo of domestic workers who held a demonstration the previous day to demand better pay for themselves, as well as for the ratifying of a global convention on the terms and conditions for domestic work.
Then there is also a report on the latest twists and turns of the complex National Hospital Insurance Fund saga, which has evolved into a tussle involving the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Minister for Medical Services, the NHIF board, the President and the Prime Minister. Turn the page and you see the prominent NGO Mars Group seeking to audit national revenue accounts for the last five years; Parliament seeking to speed up the passing of reform bills; and Law Society of Kenya asking the National Cohesion and Integration Commission for a status report on key political players accused of engaging in hate speech.
What these reports have in common is that they all point to how far Kenya has come along the road to dismantling the imperial presidency which dominated the nation's affairs for the first three decades of independence. It is easily forgotten now that for many years past, much of the political activity revolved around the presidency. And that the only thing that really mattered was to get the attention of His Excellency.
But now it is Parliament which determines the legislative agenda; and Kenya has an influential and varied non-governmental sector, which strives to monitor those in power, at every turn. Add to this the fact that barely a month passes, but we have some presidential decree revoked by the High Court for being unconstitutional, and you have all the proof you need that Kenya is indeed evolving into a mature democracy.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Those who make a distinction between education and entertainment don’t know the first thing about either.” Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian writer and social critic was born on July 21, 1911.