HANDSHAKE IMPLICATIONS

Raila staging political, constitutional coup against Kenyans through BBI

Kenya must choose to uphold, respect and implement the 2010 Constitution

In Summary

• Preserving institutional, operational, structural and financial independence of the Judiciary and constitutionally mandated institutions is paramount.

• The direct affront to and attack on the Judiciary is solely intended to force it into political submission.

ODM leader Raila Odinga arrives for the BBI rally at Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in Mombasa on Saturday, January 25, 2020
ODM leader Raila Odinga arrives for the BBI rally at Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in Mombasa on Saturday, January 25, 2020
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Kenya belongs to Kenyans and the future of the country is collective. 

All Kenyans seek a better future for themselves and their children. Young people deserve better educational and economic opportunities, and efforts are required to eliminate gender inequality.

Kenya must choose to uphold, respect and implement the 2010 Constitution and pursue strengthening of its democracy, to avoid deepening divisions and exacerbating political tensions. Once that choice is made, the country can say no to violence, repression, and impunity; and a resounding yes to building trust in institutions and processes and among citizens.

 

Preserving institutional, operational, structural and financial independence of the Judiciary and constitutionally mandated institutions is paramount. Robust checks and balances are the prerogatives of every healthy democracy.

The direct affront to and attack on the Judiciary is solely intended to force it into political submission. President Uhuru Kenyatta has succeeded in capturing and controlling the investigatory and prosecutorial agencies through compromised and manipulated appointments. 

Uhuru wants a compliant Judiciary. He wants a Judiciary and legal system whose rulings send chilling political messages. This is bad behaviour and contrary to the Constitution. It has to stop. Courts must remain independent and free to stand up to the government when necessary.

It is very sad that President Kenyatta keeps saying Kenyans should speak freely while his own senior government officials are issuing threats and intimidating anyone expressing different views from those held by him and his new buddy Raila Odinga, especially on BBI.

Currently, there is a significant climate of fear,  impunity for law enforcement officers and an apparent gap in accountability. This has also been confirmed by the latest report on the Status of Human Rights in Kenya by Human Rights Watch.

The Presidency is purveying dictatorship. Senior government officials have ramped up intimidation and threat tactics against people and those with contrary opinions. By its own yardstick, the country is consolidating rollbacks to constitutional gains. This is unacceptable and must stop immediately.

The National Police Service must desist from regime policing and remain politically neutral in accordance with the Constitution. Politicians threatening others should be arrested and prosecuted. Impunity fosters a culture of violence and mistrust, the opposite of what Kenya needs.

 

It is precisely when political tensions are high that the government should do its utmost to let people express their grievances and to protect their rights. Participants in peaceful protests and those expressing different political opinions are exercising and defending their legitimate right to voice their demands and express dissent.

On BBI and the political situation in the country, one of the founding values of democratic Kenya is the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law. This means the level of a country’s democracy is determined by its adherence to the basic principles by which all people — regardless of their economic or political status — are subject to equal legal rules.

The March 9, 2018 handshake had one core mission: Restoring the normalcy and stability to create an environment where political dialogue on electoral malpractices and democratic transfer of power can happen peacefully. Further, it was to create a conducive environment conducive to implement the Constitution. 

BBI: RAILA'S POLITICAL PROJECT

It was never a process for a certain political party to use the backdoor to join the government. Once that election was over, that party should have dusted itself of the election loss stupor and formed a credible opposition that offers alternative political choices.

Unfortunately, the BBI has turned into a political project for Raila Odinga to attempt to re-engineer himself while purporting to remake the country's governance structure. He is staging a political and constitutional coup against Kenyans. This is not what the handshake was about.

The country cannot afford a costly political project that is not informed by coherent reasons and justification but a desire by few political leaders to have public offices created for themselves without considering the serious economic and financial implications.

Civil service must also remain politically neutral in accordance with the constitutional principles of separation of powers and public service. The police should be delinked from the control by the Office of the President.

Civil servants and security organs must realise that elected governments are transient. They may come and go but civil servants enjoy the security of tenure. They exist to serve Kenyans and the Constitution and not the President and politicians. They must thus remain politically impartial. They must not campaign for or against a political party as they are barred by the Constitution from using state resources or state powers for partisan political purposes.

BAD ECONOMY

The Jubilee government must admit economic and fiscal policy mismanagement. There is no hiding the fact that the economy of the country is in serious trouble. Growth rates have dipped; unemployment and cost of living have hit the roof; there is a debilitating liquidity crisis; exports are virtually dead; banks are beholden to the government bonds/bills; crippling borrowing, debt and spending is hurting; the agriculture sector is reeling under very low productivity and private sector investments are at a worrying low if not negative.

While economic measures outlined by the President recently are highly welcome, unfortunately, they did not go far enough to address the core structural economic problems. It is ironic that while many Kenyans’ businesses are dwindling and shutting down, one or two families are robustly thriving and extending their tentacles in all sectors of the economy.

We have to take painful measures to fix, expand and diversify the economic security for all Kenyans. Citizens want quality jobs and genuine money in their pockets.

BBI, which is a political show of much ado about nothing except creating political offices for a few, has serious implications for the already deteriorating economic and financial situation of the country.