- The president has many tools in his arsenal to deploy toward making sure any fires in the country are put out before going out of control.
- Prior to promulgation of the Constitution, a president worried little about putting out fires because no one dared start them.
Articles 132 and 133 of the Constitution lay out the powers and functions of the president. You can spend your whole day perusing through those two articles over and over but at no point are you going to find where it says the president must be clever, strategic and shrewd in putting out fires in the country.
These are the president’s inherent powers, meaning, not expressly stated in the constitution but it is assumed that’s exactly what the president must do to prevent the country from going into chaos or a state of stagnation in every index that matters.
The president has many tools in his arsenal to deploy toward making sure any fires in the country are put out before going out of control. Prior to promulgation of the Constitution, a president worried little about putting out fires because no one dared start them. Those who did ate enough tear gas and many suffered detention without trial, torture and even death for merely agitating for change.
Not exactly setting up fires but doing what we all must appreciate was great sacrifice by these heroes and heroines to turn our country from a dictatorship to the struggling democracy she is. We owe promulgation of the constitution and the vast rights we have enjoyed since to these heroes and heroines who sacrificed so much.
Yes, in lesser ways many of us contributed in the struggles to liberate our country, and therefore, we, too, deserve kudos as progressives who care and love our country.
But some of these freedoms have been abused by many who, one must conclude, do not understand what freedom means. Freedom does not mean a right to speak your mind no matter how vile, disrespectful, or ethnically divisive it is. It was with this in mind that the government enacted the National Cohesion and Integration Act of 2008.
This law whose stated purpose is to encourage civil national discourse that is not tribal or ethnically driven antagonistic instigation of disharmony or disunity.
Utterances that are extremely offensive or intended to incite the public to violence based on tribe or ethnic affiliation are rightly punishable as criminal acts.
However, there is a thin line between criminally sanctionable hate speech and speaking the truth. The government should not and must not even attempt to punish anyone who speaks or writes the truth.
There is nothing more horrifying and backward than any effort to stop speech solely on grounds the speech stings as to its truthfulness.
When many of us who know Pauline Njoroge saw in the news that she was arrested for allegedly being found in possession of narcotics, we immediately smelled a rat.
The odds of Pauline having been found in possession of narcotics that belong to her are just as good as Elon Musk being found inside a matatu in CBD headed to Mathare slums. It is therefore no wonder that this purported basis for arresting the blogger and her friend is not contained in the charge sheet presented by the police in court.
Pauline and her friend have since been released, with the government claiming they intend to charge Pauline with hate speech.
She is a popular blogger followed by almost half a million followers on Twitter alone. What she posts is public information. One need not be a lawyer versed in criminal law and constitutionalism to conclude there is nothing she has posted to date that can come even close to hate speech.
Speech is not hate speech because it is truth or painfully so.
Neither is speech hate speech because it’s based on information sourced from other than public sources so long as it is true.
If one publishes something that is false that tarnishes another person’s character, there are civil remedies that are available in court.
If one publishes or makes utterances that are criminally sanctionable, namely, utterances that are inarguably vile and intended to incite tribal or ethnic based hatred and solely so, then not this writer or anyone else would defend that.
Let them face the music to the full extent of the law.
However, one stating facts as they know them or expressing an opinion should never ever be worried or concerned that the police are out there ready to arrest them or worse.
That is a level of regression President Ruto must not allow happen if he were to distinguish himself as a tolerant leader, among other things.