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RULE OF LAW

Justice key to unlocking development

With a strong Constitution, educated workforce and a thriving youth population, the future looks bright.

In Summary

• In this state of apathy, citizens lack the spirit of patriotism and nationhood.

• As the saying goes, instead of kujivunia kuwa Wakenya, the people end up kuvumilia kuwa Wakenya.

Kenya is a budding democracy with the potential of becoming a major force and reference point for social justice and economic prosperity in Africa.

With a strong Constitution, educated workforce and a thriving youth population, the future looks bright.

However, the country is also bedevilled with massive corruption, rising insecurity and divisive ethnicity, which threaten its development and rise as an icon of Africa.

 

While Kenyans boast of political pluralism and a steady economy in a region filled with political and economic turmoil, the country has also seen massive looting of public resources, rising insecurity, as well as high cost of living due to a huge wage bill and heavy taxation.

The result of which is a disillusioned citizenry, gross human rights violations and a struggling democracy. In order to realise the potential that Kenya is, key issues need to be addressed to engage all stakeholders in the development agenda. Key amongst these is access to justice.

Constitutionalism and rule of law are important ingredients of any just society. A society that does not uphold the tenets of justice is bound to suffer inequality, discrimination and undemocratic regimes, which eventually hinder development.

The Judiciary and legal fraternity, in general, have not always safeguarded the rights of the public but to the contrary, have many times sided with the looters and human rights violators.

The recent upsurge in human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, gender-based violence and suicide, are a symptom of deeper crisis within society that requires attention.

In different parts of the country, cries of desperation for justice and equity are loud and clear. In social, economic as well as political sectors, players are seeking protection from aggressors who continue to disrupt the social order and unfairly reap where they did not sow.

Corruption is one clear example of how communities at large end up suffering underdevelopment and poor services. Because of corruption and lack of will to fight corruption, billions of shillings are lost which could otherwise have been used to initiate development projects and enhance services to the poor.

In addition, flagrant violation of human rights, including torture and killings, are robbing society of much-needed security and instilling fear in a populace that requires assurance of peace and security of person to meaningfully engage in economic processes.

 
 

The Judiciary and legal fraternity, in general, have not always safeguarded the rights of the public but to the contrary, have many times sided with the looters and human rights violators. When matters are presented before the justice system, legalese and political manipulation always carry the day as accused persons are soon let to walk scot-free despite clear incriminating evidence.

The result of which is a frustrated public that loses faith in the justice system. In this state of apathy, citizens lack the spirit of patriotism and nationhood. As the saying goes, instead of kujivunia kuwa Wakenya, the people end up kuvumilia kuwa Wakenya.

To address this malaise, Kenyans must work towards a justice system that is efficient, upholds human rights and the doctrines of constitutionalism as well as rule of law.

As a country, we need to start working on ensuring that justice is not a preserve of the rich and politically correct but a right that every Kenyan can enjoy. To achieve this, constitutional office bearers, including the DPP and DCI, must strictly enforce the law and ensure there are no sacred cows.

Kenyans want to see heads roll over the fake gold scandal, NYS corruption saga as well as the bogus dams project.

State institutions, including the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Independent Policing Oversight Authority, must step up their efforts to deliver on their mandate by ensuring accountability of all public officers, including the police.

In the event of abuse, subsequent prosecution and conviction must be guaranteed. Civil society organisations such as Haki Africa, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and IMLU also have a huge role to play in midwifing the rebirth of a just justice system.

Through mobilising and sensitising citizens around justice matters, civil society should ensure the public remains informed and agitated against injustices.

As Kenyans, we can no longer remain aloof towards justice matters. The risks of doing so are too grave for the country.

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