Is our freedom under siege?

Kenyans voted overwhelmingly for a new constitutional dispensation on August 4 2010. We dreamt of a new dawn and believed that we were on our way as a country to the Promised Land. Four months later the dream is turning into a nightmare. The Bible counsels that one should not put new wine in old skins but that is exactly what we are doing. We have new laws but the some politicians who are completely self-serving. The result is that Parliament is turning into a dictator which has no respect to other arms of government.

The new constitution clearly gives the schedule of transition and if followed precisely there would be no hullaballoo. However, since the MPs are self-serving and they cannot see past their noses, Kenya is currently in a constitutional crisis.

The constitution states that elections will be held in August but as this means that the MPs term will be cut by four months, the MPs in total disregard to the constitution are insisting they will serve out the full term.

Democracy states that the three arms of government shall be equal in power and separate from interference. In breach of this core principle, MPs have interviewed the nominees to the Judicial Service Commission and the have also threatened to censure Justice Gacheche for ruling against the Ligale Commission.

The MPs in protest over the Boundaries Row have paralysed Parliament and they refused to approve the nominees to the Constitutional Implementation Committee and the Revenue Allocation Committee Chairman till the deadline specified passed.

There is also talk of amending the new constitution so as to extend Ligale’s Commission so as to gazette the contentious boundary list. Even before we implement the constitution we are already amending? Can anyone else see the danger?

In the midst of all these, the US government dropped a bombshell that five prominent Kenyans, including three MPs have been banned from going to USA due to their involvement in drug trafficking. Demands to have them named have been thwarted with the predictable line of ongoing investigations being stated.

All these instances I have stated are constitutional matters and quite abstract. However, there have been practical cases of MPs infringing on our freedoms as Kenyans.

The Alcohol Law is very prohibitive and is an instance of attempting to use law to tackle societal issues. Was inclusivity in the drafting, debating and passing of this law with Kenyan?

On Sunday, the Prime Minister while addressing a public rally in Kibera called for the arrest and jailing of gays. This was an out-of-the-blue provocation and incitement towards gays and I am still trying to figure out what Raila who is a strategic politician was aiming for. Are we going to have a Sex Law deciding how, when, where and with who we have sex?

Other things which have made me worried are: XYZ a satirical animation show which tackles politics and societal happenings did not air this week and there are rumours circulating that today’s Star newspaper has been confiscated by State security officials.

Which brings me to the question – Is our freedom under siege?

Kenya in the last 8 years under President Kibaki has made amazing strides in the area of freedoms. The new constitution also gives these freedoms legal basis in the very in-depth Bill of Rights. However, it appears that there are forces who are seeking to drag us back to the dark days we experienced under former President Moi.

Back then (during Moi’s regime) there was a robust civil society and later a strong opposition to keep the government on its toes and to champion the rights of the common Kenyan. Today, there is no opposition to speak of and Civil Society is non-existent.

Who will speak for the common man? Who will challenge the emerging Parliamentary dictatorship? Who will tame the seemingly reckless Executive? Who will oversee much needed reform in the Judiciary?

I am sounding warning bells because the signs of a return to the dark days are there for all to see. However, Kenyans have gotten too complacent and if we do not watch out we shall be caught unawares by the anti-reform forces.

Calling on all Kenyans to be alert and watchful because clearly, the struggle continues!




4 responses to “Is our freedom under siege?

  • Maina

    The 2002 “liberation” was in fact meant to keep us in chains for a very long time afterwards. If the civil society does not come up from within ourselves, then we will have failed Kenya as a whole.

  • peter Kariuki

    Well not to answer your question but cool your nerves Kenya has its owners but their grip is slipping real steady. We have known about drug barons and their kin and networks for years without even having to investigate but it has always been harsh harsh now its a public matter the issues you observe here are pertinent but i see them as attempts by the lot that has always capitalised on oppression to regain their grip but like they say in the US of A things done Changed.

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