Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Young legislatures lack reform agenda for Kenya

The young legislatures have become ardent protectors of the status quo when Kenyans expected them to be the pivot for transformative leadership. They have failed to catalyse the much needed reforms in the Country beginning from the constitutional review, fighting vices like corruption and negative ethnicity. What we are seeing from the youthful MPs who were mostly elected on a reform agenda is narrow selfishness instead of patriotism. It’s quite clear that in the upcoming USA Presidential elections, Obama is likely to win because of his reform credentials while his opponent will loose because he represents the old school of thought which is not in tandem with the current American political trends. Recently one of the youthful legislatures honourable Danson Mungatana was agitating that the Managing director of the Kenya Ports Authority must come from the Coast simply the headquarters of the corporation is in Coast Province and Mungatana also comes from Coast. This is a narrow reasoning coming from a young lawyer who is supposed to advocate for professionalism not tribal or selfish leanings in the management of public institutions. What Kenyans yearns for more than tribal leanings is efficiency, dedication, transparency and accountability in managing state affairs. Another respected legislature who was once perceived to be an epitome of change before he was voted into Parliament for the first time is the MP for Mukurweini, honourable Kabando Wa kabando. The legislature has undergone a complete metamorphosis and now rides on an ethnic crest. If it’s true that he is one of the purported perpetrators of the post election violence as per Waki’s sealed envelope, it will be too sad for the youthful MP whose stand on matters of justice is well remembered even during his years in University. Almost all youthful ODM legislatures agitating for official opposition in Parliament is not based on genuine convictions but narrow and selfish ends that cannot benefit this nation. Even their strong criticism to the Prime Minister Raila Odinga is simply because he failed to appoint them to the Cabinet. They have failed to remember that elderly legislatures in ODM with experience in the Cabinet like Christanthus Okemo has not rocked horns with Raila over Cabinet issue but is silent and focused to serve the Nambale constituents. Its tragic that recent joint communiqué from ODM to reject the Waki report on the post election violence was read by honourable Ababu Namwamba, the eloquent and charismatic lawyer who should carry the reform agenda in Kenya’s politics. Young as he is, he should not follow the “group think” mentality. Namwamba and group should tell us how the victims of post election violence can get justice if they are against the full implementation of the Waki report. How shall we realize political transformation in Kenya when young legislatures have refused to carry the torch for reforms but instead wants to retain the status quo which has stagnated this country for decades? Any leadership requires a firm stand. That is why many Kenyans respect the former Kabete legislature, Paul Muite and James Orengo amongst others once dubbed the young Turks in the late 80 and early 90s. They fought for the freedom many of us enjoy today. It’s encouraging that Orengo and Muite have not faltered. The latter always takes a firm stand on issues that can bring positive change to Kenya while the former, as a cabinet member, his performance in the Lands Ministry is exemplary. In the wisdom of the late Martin Luther King Junior, the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Honourables Momoima Onyonka of Kitutu Chache and George Nyamweya, a nominated, have taken a firm stand against their Parties to support the implementation of the Waki report. This is a perfect shift from the political theatrics that we have been treated to in this Country for a long time. Its also reflects that the two young legislatures truly stands for justice and transformative leadership in Kenya …taking a stand independently even when it’s unpopular to one’s party establishments. Over the rejection to implement the Waki report. It has been observed that Prime Minister Raila Odinga was coerced to accept the rejection of the report. It was clear that some legislature from Rift valley and Western Province had earlier on expressed displeasure over his stand on the report where they threatened to pull out of the party if he kept pressing for its full implementation. Leadership is about Values pegged on standing on what is right at all times. The future of this Country lies on mechanisms youthful leaders will put in place if they augur true patriotism for Kenya . Joseph Lister Nyaringo
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