Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Constitutional appointees need to safeguard the law

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By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
Many of us feel betrayed by politicians and those tasked with implementing the Constitution which they voted for two years ago. It looks like we are not out of the woods yet. It has become hard to differentiate between the old and the new order. 

We continue to see the old operational styles being perpetuated by those who should guide the nation towards the change which is tandem with the new law. Several bodies tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the new law have either abdicated their responsibilities or failed to provide clear guidelines to ensure the nation reaps maximum benefits of the new Constitution. 

From the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), led by Isaack Hassan, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), led by Mzalendo Kibunja, Commission for Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), led by Charles Nyachae, The Attorney General, to the Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u, all these bodies have not played their role to the expectations of Kenyans.

It was a great contradiction early this year when the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) chairman Charles Nyachae told the nation that William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta, who are both indicted by the ICC, are eligible to vie for the presidency. 

The same argument was weathered down a month later by the former Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Mutula Kilonzo who said that if the two legislators were allowed to vie, it will be against the spirit of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity. Kilonzo, who has since been moved to the Ministry of Education advised Ruto and Kenyatta to stop their countrywide presidential campaigns. 

It’s also discouraging that the IEBC, the Registrar of Political Parties, the Attorney General and the Speaker, have failed to provide direction on the fate of six MPs who were recently declared partless. If the law is followed to the letter, MPs Linah Jebii Kilimo, Richard Onyonka, Clement Waibara, Gideon Mbuvi, Barnabas Muturi, and David Mwaniki Ngugi technically lost their parliamentary seats. 

Therefore, the Speaker should declare their seats vacant thereby giving the IEBC room to conduct new elections in the affected constituencies. It’s clear that the affected MPs were elected under the old constitution which did not have a provision for independent candidates. This is the surest way of living and operating within the law.

It has also been observed that the IEBC hasn’t provided proper guidelines especially on the current premature presidential campaigns when the Country is nine months away to the next General Election. This is if the March 2013 will suffice. Kenyan tax payers must be told by the government the mandate of bodies like Brand Kenya, and the Mzalendo Kibunja led National Cohesion and Integration Commission. 

As citizens and tax payers, we have a right to question or even demand the disbandment of bodies which have failed to discharge their duties or have failed to operate within the mandate under which they were founded. In any society, bureaucracies are created to enhance service delivery to the citizens as well as uplifting the status of a nation’s social, political and economic fronts. What role is Mzalendo Kibunja playing to enhance national cohesion when there is hate speech all over the nation from top politicians to regular citizens? 

It’s imperative for Kibunja, to fold up his sleeves to address hate speech which has not only become rampant in political rallies, eating joints, and social gathering but also in the cyberspace. The current Constitution cost Kenyans lives and resources and must be defended and protected. It was passed to steer our nation towards greater heights because of its wonderful provisions. Failing to respect and uphold it is the clearest indicator that Kenya is not ready to overcome impunity and upholding the rule of law. 

Is it not at height of corruption and impunity when a Presidential candidate is flown in a tax payer paid military chopper to his political campaign meeting? I think this was a violation of the law and wastage of public resources when the deputy prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi was flown recently from Nairobi to attend a campaign rally in Western Kenya. What is the purpose of having a good law merely on paper yet our governance systems and processes continue to thrive on the old constitution? 

Our political leaders still thrive on the old culture and have become purveyors of hate and tribalism instead of purveyors of patriotism. The ethnic undertones which dominate their political campaigns are clear examples of flouting the current law. 

The degree of patriotism from our political leaders is on low ebb. Instead of shaping intelligent debates to allow Kenyans make the informed choices before the next elections, they are busy propagating seeds of discord through ethnic nationalism which does not augur well for peace and harmony in the country. It’s therefore sad that the negative image portrayed especially by those vying for the Presidency is slowly sinking into the minds of their supporters when they are supposed to be role models. 

The arguments we see in social gatherings, social media, eating joints and funerals is tragic for the nation. We want the law to be respected and those who are found flouting it to be punished. This is the surest way to build the Kenya we all want. 


(Joseph Lister Nyaringo is a Kenyan living in New Jersey, USA)

Read more at CapitalFM:: Constitutional appointees need to safeguard the law http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/eblog/?p=2012












Read more at CapitalFM:: Constitutional appointees need to safeguard the law http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/eblog/?p=2012