Sunday, January 06, 2008

The struggle in Kenya bigger than Kibaki and Raila

By Ababu Namwamba

Anyone imagining that the imbroglio engulfing Kenya is a contest between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki is wrong.

The two are symbols of a seismic battle rooted in the very foundations of our nationhood.

It is equally off the mark to think that this is a tribal dispute. What we are witnessing is a battle for the very soul of our motherland. It is a battle to rescue our nascent democracy from imminent annihilation. A battle to salvage libertarian gains achieved over the last 15 years of pluralist democracy. It is a battle to reclaim the proud image of our land as an African beacon of hope.

By bungling presidential election, the Electoral Commission of Kenya and Kibaki have sabotaged priceless democratic gains that cost our country dearly in blood, lives, limbs, tears, sweat, time and money.

ECK Chairman Samuel Kivuitu and at least five commissioners have admitted that they facilitated the overthrow of the country’s constitutional order by declaring Kibaki President under pressure. And Kibaki has upped this illegitimacy by suspending the Bill of Rights and turning Kenya into a virtual police state.

In the last one week since Kibaki was sneaked back to State House under the cover of darkness, Kenyans have lost their right to associate, assemble, move, access information and freely express themselves.

Under express shoot-to-kill orders, police have unleashed unprecedented brutality against unarmed citizens, resulting in a massacre of genocidal proportions.

Most of the Kenyans killed in the last week have died from police bullets, while others are victims of the supposedly outlawed mungiki goons that have been unleashed upon innocent Kenyans by misguided elements who style themselves as custodians of the Kibaki presidency.

The media have been muzzled in a manner never seen even in the darkest days of the Nyayo autocracy.

In the twinkling of an eye, the ECK has lost all credibility accumulated since the 1997 IPPG deal that handed the country the first election supervision team with some semblance of impartial balance.

The team under Kivuitu had risen to command widespread public confidence after superbly handling the momentous 2002 General Election and the historic 2005 constitutional referendum. This premium heritage now lies in ruins of shame. Kenyans’ confidence in the ballot box has been shaken. Trust in public institutions like the ECK, Police, the Judiciary and the political leadership is in tatters.

And so when you see ordinary Kenyans baring their chests to police bullets in protest, their ultimate objective is not merely reclaiming a stolen election. NO. They have a higher goal – restoring the constitutional order, reclaiming the sanctity of State institutions like the ECK and the Judiciary, which have been strangulated.

The goal of burnishing shameless deceit from the nation’s body politic; the goal of renewing public confidence in the power of the ballot; the goal of saving the very ideal of one Kenya for all.

Standing in the way of these gallant patriots is a cabal around Kibaki that seems hell-bent on sending this country to the dogs, if that is what it takes for them to cling onto power. It is this stand off that threatens to tear our beautiful land asunder.

We have three options on how to deal with this conflagration:

One, we can bury our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and hope that the storm will pass. This would be foolhardy considering the ferocity of conviction among those determined to salvage the nation from claws of impunity.

Two, Kibaki and Internal Security minister John Michuki can step up the on-going repression to swat all popular resistance. This is a dangerous angle, as the resistance would most likely shift underground and blossom into a lethal monster.

Suppressed street protests would just give way to ugly battles on the floor of Parliament that could well paralyse the State.

With a firm grip on Parliament, ODM is in a splendid position to bring down government by torpedoing all legislative agenda. In just five months, ODM legislators could reject the Finance Bill and deny government taxation authority while also starving it of funds from the consolidated fund.

ODM also has the numbers to determine the Speaker and the Deputy, to control all Committees of the House and to deploy a strong Vote of No Confidence. ODM MPs could also easily make it impossible for Kibaki to ever peacefully set foot in their constituencies, spread across the country, in six of eight provinces. But while all these measures may well bring down Kibaki, they would only divide the nation further.

Which brings me to the third, and what I consider to be the most viable option. Kibaki and Raila should climb down and consider a transitional government with two mandates: The first would be to restore the usurped constitutional order through such measures as reconstituting the ECK, enacting essentials of the IPPG deal into law, purging the Judiciary of political stooges and assenting to the Political Parties Bill.

The second mandate would be to preside over a fresh presidential election within six months. I make this recommendation aware that in the current circumstances, a winner-take-all arrangement is untenable given the sizeable support each side boasts of. It could even become desirable for Kibaki and Raila to skip the ensuing election in the interest of national unity. It is in such times as this that passion must give way to reason. When the nationalist must guide the parochial.

— The writer is Budalang’i MP-elect.

ababu AT


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Namwaba Ababu is the man who is so emotional and imature full of excitiment like a she goat on a first sexual encounter.
I lost all respect for this man when he asked the speaker to take "judicial notice" and the more sober and mature Wako said judicial notice is taken in court and not in parliament.What is your proffessional realy if you cant tell the difference on such basics issues?You are the embarassment that this country does not need.I was with some foreign dignitaries and was so embarrased about your imature display of up.It may be the first and last parliamentary seat.........

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