- Our first transition politics experience was when the British colonial settlers did everything they could to delay Independence.
- Jomo Kenyatta continued with this tradition and amended the Lancaster House Constitution, setting off a process that made Kenya a one-party state.
We are still a long way from the next election and yet the political temperature is already rising. This has become part of our transition politics. I speak with authority having watched transitions from very close quarters since the colonial times as my father was a long-serving politician. It is bad transition politics that delayed Independence. We get through the confusion and chaos because God loves us. There is hope.
Our first transition politics experience was when the British colonial settlers did everything they could to delay Independence. They wanted to leave their favourite Africans in positions of responsibility. The State of Mau Mau Emergency delayed Independence.
It is no wonder then that agitation of the newly elected African members of Legislative Council led to several changes to the Constitution leading up to Independence. What we see today as BBI (constitutional changes) is a process that started back then and has become part of our tradition.
Jomo Kenyatta continued with this tradition and amended the Lancaster House Constitution, setting off a process that made Kenya a one-party state. Moi’s administration continued to make amendments in his favour until Kenyans agitated for change. His final act on constitutional amendment was when he set the motion rolling for the Bomas Constitutional Conference Process, which the Kibaki administration completed.
In between Kibaki had to deal with a lost referendum and creation of a government of national unity following the 2007-8 post-election violence. Demand for changes to our Constitution, as can be seen, has become part of our transition politics. Why should we be surprised that BBI is following that tradition?
Fights have become another unfortunate tradition. As a result people have died, been assassinated, imprisoned, detained, and lost businesses and family land. We have always tried to “solve” our never-ending problems through Lancaster House; Kanu Constitutional Review; Kofi Annan-led negotiations and several taskforces and commissions of enquiries.