Friday, June 4, 2010

Kenya not out of the woods yet even with a good constitution without a leader

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
The proposed constitution is likely to pass in the referendum despite the raging debate between the protagonists and antagonists and thereafter, Kenyans will start focusing on a leader who will apply the new law to transform and restore our Country’s governance systems and processes.
As a nation, we are smelling justice, equality, equity, freedom, devolution, a fair justice system and other wonderful provisions enshrined in the proposed law but the sum total of any bureaucracy whether in business or government always requires a superb leader to ensure its success.
Currently, many Kenyans are stricken by poverty; living from hand to mouth. The landless can’t afford even a graveyard. Quite often, in rural Kenya, a young girl is raped and the culprit perambulates lackadaisically in the village while the victim wriggles in pain with no justice.
A farmer in Nyamache District delivering tea to a buying centre is robbed off his kilos by a corrupt tea clerk. If this happens in the grassroots, what about at the top where we have entrusted leaders with responsibilities of managing our taxes which are in a tune of Billions of Kshs?
Our exchequer has been looted since independence and the culprits walks freely among us. Many of these corrupt individuals have stashed the loot to foreign banks when many Kenyans are living under a dollar a day. Others have undergone a spiritual transformation- fooling Kenyans by preaching as well as leading political parties. What a phony way to fool Kenyans?
The corrupt of yesteryears are the ardent critics of the proposed constitution; fearing that its passage will unravel their past inequities and bring them to justice when it’s implemented. Therefore, our key focus should be how the new constitution will be harnessed to address the past and present predicaments that continue to bedevil our nation.
The President who will take over from Kibaki under the new constitution will determine whether we shall float and swim as a nation or sink and drown. He must be a person with a willing spirit and excellent track record to use the “new bureaucracy” to lift our nation from the current abyss. He must also be willing to defend and protect it for our national good ands not betray it the way others have done since independence.
Remember, liberation from colonialism was received with a sigh of relief but it never relieved Kenyans. The hurrah and jubilation that will accompany the passage of the new constitution will not be enough in itself. It will carry more meaning when Kenyans shall elect a leader who will not turn into a world dog to maul the nation but use the new law to transform and restore our broken governance systems. After all, a constitution is just a mere book in black and white.
We have experienced betrayal after betrayal of the constitution form many decades done by the Presaident Kenya has had. The first president Kenyatta betrayed Kenyans when he immediately took the mantle of leadership and started acting against the spirit of the independence struggle. Former President Moi started well but underwent a complete metamorphosis; he killed dissent by changing the constitution, which turned Kenya into a one party state.
Although he agreed to change section (2a) after a lot pressure from human rights advocates and the International community that paved the way for the reintroduction of multiparty democracy, he still betrayed Kenyans by failing to provide a level playing field for multiparty democracy to suffice in the Country. Further to this, he rigged himself into power in the first multiparty elections of 1992 using state machinery like police, civil service and the provincial administration.
When Kibaki took over in 2003, he vowed to defend and protect the constitution and promised the country a new one after 100 days. Did he deliver it? Instead, he perfected political cronyism, corruption, betrayal and tribalism that he inherited from his successor. Even though he supports the current proposed constitution, he has violated the current one several times. The most tragic scenario, he was sworn in 2008 despite mysteries over his election victory.

Our “governance manual” is likely to change in August this year but we must be ready to elect person who will use the new manual to transform and restore our nation in the economic sphere, social sphere and political sphere, when elections are called. The person must be change minded and having the problems of Kenyans at heart.
A good example is Barrack Obama, who had the problems of millions of Americans without health care Insurance and after being elected president, he moved with a stratagem that caught his opponents off guard, when his administration passed the healthcare bill that was a hard nut to crack by many former US Presidents.
This is the spirit we expect from those who want to take the Country’s leadership under the new constitution. Otherwise, with Moi, Kibaki or Kenyatta’s replica in State House, it will be a tragedy for the nation even with a perfect constitution.
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