By Tee Ngugi
Posted Saturday, November 9 2013 at 13:08
IN SUMMARY
As the country lurches from one crisis to the next,
our leaders are almost perpetually being prayed for,
barely keeping their eyes open long enough to recite
tired lines and threats of sanction. Clearly, these
actions and omissions do not indicate transformative
government. We mock the activists at our own peril.
Soon after Kenya’s Independence, Jaramogi Oginga
Odinga declared that it was “not yet Uhuru”. The
reaction from government and its supporters was
vitriolic.
Odinga, they frothed, was a deranged man. Could he
not see that Kenya was finally free? We now know
that Odinga was right.
The country had to wait for 47 years to get a
constitution that would finally put it on the path to
true freedom. But a good constitution only provides
the road map to democracy; we have to write the
laws and institute procedures that will navigate us
there.
And yet, after the promulgation of the Constitution in
2010, many people, even those who were in the
struggle for true liberation, took to abusing those still
cautioning, like Odinga many years ago, that we had
not yet reached our destination, and exposing the
obstacles being put on the road to prosperity and
true freedom by the powers that be.
In opinion pieces, they derided them as career
activists, called them lackeys of foreign NGOs in TV
debates, and generally mocked them as nuisances
who had slept through the promulgation of the
Constitution. Do these activists not see, they
lamented, while lounging in their middle class
homes, that we have a new Constitution and the best
government people could ever wish for?
Well, now parliament has passed a Bill decried by the
Daily Nation as taking the country back 50 years.
Granted that the Bill has yet to be assented to, but
the very fact that parliamentarians — people we have
elected to protect the Constitution — can pass such a
Kanu-esque Bill should tell us in frightening terms
that all is not what it seems to be.
What arouses even more foreboding is that this
sinister attempt is one in a series of acts of
commission or omission that show that the
leadership of this country is far from reinventing
itself in order to take the country to prosperity and
freedom as promised by Vision 2030 and our new
Constitution, for these two documents presuppose
nothing short of a radical transformation of our
political and governing culture.
Let us revisit a few missed opportunities and
ominous actions.
The passage of the offensive Bill came on the heels of
summons issued by the police to two investigative
journalists who had unveiled a series of errors by
different government departments that facilitated
the terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall.
The expose included the airing of close-circuit
footage that seemed to confirm allegations of looting
by Kenya Defence Force personnel.
The Inspector-General of Police described the expose
and media reporting on the terrorist act as inciting
Kenyans against the government and engaging in
propaganda war. His words recalled the now obsolete
sedition law on the basis of which hundreds of real
and imagined opponents of the Kanu dictatorship
were tortured and jailed.
The TJRC report on human-rights violations since
1963 was supposed to provide the basis for a
national conversation about a new beginning. It gave
recommendations on persons who should be
investigated and prosecuted for various crimes
pertaining to tribal clashes, land acquisition, grand
corruption and assassination or torture of political
opponents, etc.
The report has been gathering dust since
presentation to the president many months back,
and it now seems that its fate is going to be no
different from other reports: The Akiwumi report on
ethnic violence, the Ndungu report on illegal land
acquisition, the report on the Artur brothers
(Armenian mercenaries suspected to have been
involved in many state-sanctioned illegal activities in
the country), and others.
Last financial year, Ksh300 billion of tax payers’
money was missing or not well-accounted for. Every
day, road accidents cause dozens of deaths. The
county is under siege by criminals, kidnapping and
murdering almost at will. Deadly ethnic clashes
continue in northern Kenya.
As the country lurches from one crisis to the next,
our leaders are almost perpetually being prayed for,
barely keeping their eyes open long enough to recite
tired lines and threats of sanction. Clearly, these
actions and omissions do not indicate transformative
government. We mock the activists at our own peril.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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