- In Kenya, we talk of cartels that fund elections as an investment whose profits are earned when their favourite candidate wins the elections.
- Indeed, cartels in Kenya invariably fund both factions in the elections to make sure there is no political margin for error.
I have written three articles on the issue of Kenyan foreign policy. In the first article, I called our foreign policy one of “wait and see,” a euphemism for making unilateral decisions, mainly by the Executive.
In that article, I reiterated why our foreign policy cannot disengage from our 2010 Constitution. My argument was that if sovereign power belongs to us the people of Kenya, and we delegate it to the Executive we still retain it, and we have the power to withdraw it.
The other argument to reinforce the first is that one of our constitutional national values and principles of governance is the participation of the people of Kenya in all matters of governance.
Clearly, the Constitution intended a departure from the argument that those who come to power invariably use: that they have the people’s mandate after winning the election to become dictators until the next elections.
Well, the 2010 Constitution decreed otherwise. It was us, the people of Kenya who should have the final say. This is a new culture and value of our Constitution that our rulers find difficult to implement because of its material and political consequences.
Those who rule this country have not been elected by us. Those who rule us are national and foreign interests that have enslaved the people we vote for.
In Kenya, we talk of cartels that fund elections as an investment whose profits are earned when their favourite candidate wins the elections.
Indeed, cartels in Kenya invariably fund both factions in the elections to make sure there is no political margin for error.
Then there is the foreign community, a euphemism for foreign interests and cartels. Our leaders, therefore, become captives of these interests and cartels. It is always politically dangerous for leaders to challenge or disobey the forces that brought them to power.
To illustrate the power of foreign orders is a story that has been told about a former US Secretary of State, Mr Baker taking our Philip Leakey aside, then a minister in the Kenya government, and asking him (Leakey) what the New World Order.
Before Leakey could answer, Baker told him that in the New World Order, the US gave the orders! History records what happens to the political leaders in the Global South who dare defy those orders.
So, you have a situation of leaders who are supposed to rule us in our national interest but find themselves unable to do so. Indeed, some delight in carrying out those orders because they come with goodies including immense wealth and political power.
One can say that our leaders, use an English saying, “Run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.”
The political consequences are that the hare (people) shun them while the hounds (the imperialists) ultimately devour them. Betrayal of the Motherland has always been a cardinal sin.
The agents who rule us do not come to us for participation in their critical decisions because they do not represent our interests. Indeed, they do not believe we know what those interests are.
There is a parallel here. The forefathers of our leaders in Kenya are Kenyan leaders who betrayed our national interests and can be traced to the onset of the British colonial occupation that resulted in our land and resources being stolen, our freedom extinguished, and our exploitation ensued.
So, we have had chiefs, home guards, religious groups, and business people who benefited from the occupation, and that linkage and continuity has never ended.
That is what scholars called neocolonialism. When ordinary people could not understand what neocolonialism meant they were told in Kiswahili “ukoloni mambo leo.” And those who understood English were told in plain English that the “British never left Kenya.”
Back to King Charles III. I am saying his visit follows in the footsteps of the Executive’s decisions on Haiti and Palestine which were made in our name but without our participation.
I have argued that such participation by the people would make it difficult for the elected leaders to rule. One would have thought that Parliament could be informed and asked to debate if the Executive found it difficult to consult the people.
What I am saying is that foreign policy is an issue that the people must be consulted, debate the policy, and exercise their sovereign power in its promulgation.
That is what the participation of people means. That is what the Constitution decrees. Any other rationalization of the power of the Executive is simply a subversion of our Constitution.
I have also argued that our foreign policy must include a clear provision that urges those countries we partner with in social, economic, cultural, and political matters that affect our nation, must respect our Constitution.
Why pontificate about constitutionalism, and the rule of law as anchors of democracy when these partners routinely rubbish our Constitution when they enter into trade, investments, and other economic, digital, and political agreements?
The 21st Century is about people-to-people governance and solidarity. People all over the globe are asking their leaders not to make decisions in their name if they cannot consult them. In the Kenyan case, it is the supreme law that decrees we should be consulted. The Judiciary has been very clear on what the participation of the people entails. The decisions of courts anchor the rule of law.
It is very sad that our government did not allow those who were opposed to the visit by King Charles III to demonstrate against the visit. In King Charles III’s Great Britain demonstrators are not teargassed, felled with water cannons, or brutally beaten.
I hope King Charles III has been briefed on how demonstrators in Kenya are treated by the Government. Besides what other orders he will give to his neocolonial “Governors” in Kenya he should not tell them “to beat the natives into shape.”
Some colonial governors in the past gave such orders!
Safe travels Your Majesty and Queen Camilla. In your next visit find out if we have been consulted.
The writer is the Former Chief Justice & President Supreme Court, 2011-2016