On Friday, my church — the Anglican Church of Kenya — elected a new Archbishop to take over from Right Reverend Dr Eliud Wabukala, who retires in June. The Electoral College members met at the All Saints Cathedral to decide whom amongst six contenders would be the sixth primate of the ACK. After several rounds of voting, Bishop Jackson Sapit emerged the first amongst his equals, —Bishops Moses Nthuka, James Ochiel, Joel Waweru, Lawrence Dena and Julius Wanyoike. Some 196 Anglicans made the decision on who leads this church that has more than five million members.
What if one of the bishops who lost decided to challenge Bishop Sapit’s victory by claiming that the ‘sovereign’ will of the five million faithful should not be left to a decision made by less than 200 Anglicans? He could argue that having an equal number of delegates representing each diocese is unfair because some dioceses are larger, or older, or have invested more in the national ACK cause, than others. I am sure his argument would be popular amongst his followers. He could then ask members of his diocese to picket at All Saints Cathedral until his demands are met. Again I am sure this would get support.
Unfortunately for him, he would absolutely have no grounds for his arguments as popular as they might seem. This is because the ACK is an institution and what happened on Friday is what the constitution says should happen when the over five million Anglicans want to elect an Archbishop. If someone thinks this is unfair it also explains how to lobby to be heard.
I have used the ACK election example to explain a situation many Kenyans, including Jubilee supporters, seem to be thinking. There is a growing feeling that the Jubilee administration is just being stubborn when they refuse to engage with Cord.
The argument is that Cord cannot win the next election so Jubilee should be magnanimous and accommodate Cord’s demands. There is also the feeling that Cord has no limits to how far they will go in their desperation to get into government. So the popular argument is, ‘let us just accommodate these fellows for the sake of peace in the country!’
Jubilee has been consistent. We have a constitution that defines exactly how to establish or disband the IEBC. Let us engage within the parameters defined by the constitution because the constitution is the overall document from where we get every single law in Kenya.
However, Cord’s argument is that following the constitution will give Jubilee unfair advantage because they have more numbers in Parliament, which is where the constitution places the responsibility of managing the IEBC at. They are right. Jubilee does have more elected MPs in parliament. However this did not happen in some random opaque way. Kenyans exercised their constitutional mandate to determine who they wanted to represent them in Parliament and elected more Jubilee MPs than Cord. Democracy made Parliament ‘more Jubilee than Cord’.
So Cord’s problem is democracy. Subtly, Cord is saying that if Jubilee had less or equal MPs to them in Parliament they would follow due process on the IEBC. However, since Jubilee has more legislators let us shelve democracy, remove the role of making laws from Parliament and take it to the streets where Cord can use threats of violence and intimidation to ‘balance’ democracy.
This is unacceptable. Jubilee must resist these bullying tactics from Cord. We must teach Raila Odinga that majority of Kenyans believe in following the law, not being followed by the law.