Kenya’s a democracy, govt cannot change law to harm citizens

Saturday December 13 2014

Kenya is a liberal democracy guided by the rule of law and respect for basic human rights. The democratic status was attained after many years of painful struggle and sacrifices by gallant sons and daughters of the land.

Early post- Independence governments perpetuated the autocratic rule they inherited from the colonial rule. This compelled the citizens to start the so-called Second Liberation to free the country from despotic practices.

The passing of the new Constitution in 2010 was the culmination of the worthy efforts by the pro-democracy forces. After several years of divisive and disjointed efforts, at last the unity of purpose among the leading political elites and reform forces paid off.

Now the country has a new supreme law. With it, Kenya has joined the league of respected democracies in the world. However, implementation of the new law has presented many challenges to the country. Some analysts have accused the high cost of living and taxation regime to the Constitution for creating numerous offices and commissions.

This is not unexpected of any new system. Before systems are properly established and start functioning, the initial cost must be felt. But in the long run, the cost will reduce.

May be what the implementers failed to do is to carry out a massive civic education to enlighten the masses. An ignorant citizenry can be manipulated by the anti-reform forces.

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Kenya is not an exception if the current turn of events is anything to go by. There is an emerging narrative that the current state of insecurity is largely due to the enhanced freedoms and liberties for the citizens. That is a mere fallacy. Most of the world’s stable and secure nations are actually mature democracies.

Classic examples of these secure democracies include Britain, France, United States of America and Germany. They are very stable nations with enhanced Bill of human rights. The big question which Kenyans should answer is whether they want to tolerate harassment by the ruling elite or outsiders?

Why are we being terrorised by outsiders or insurgents when we have elaborate security machinery? We cannot accept to be subjected to autocratic rule in the name of fighting terrorism.

I believe we need a well thought out and all inclusive consultative process to conclusively address the security challenges. Shortcuts will only open up new problems for the country.

Our government must rethink rushed policies which may end up hurting the people more. We are a society of quick fixes. Security is not an issue to be handled in this manner.

Amaya Amaya
Via E-mail

ODM should follow party rules

HUE AND cry that greeted the nomination for the Homa Bay Senate seat in western Kenya following the death of Otieno Kajwang should serve as a reminder to the country’s registrar of political parties that party activities need to be streamlined ahead of the next General Election.

Party nominations as well as by-elections are often times shrouded in mystery. Political luminaries have tended to treat parties as personal property. But with the public funding of these outfits, more transparency and accountability is called for.

Boardroom deals as witnessed in the opposition party Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party must be a thing of the past.

The office of the registrar of political parties has a constitutional mandate to compel parties to uphold the principles of democracy and good governance. Short cuts employed by political parties are unacceptable. Our Constitution demands parties as public entities practice the highest degree of democracy.

I urge the current bearer of the office to act tough on political parties especially on party primaries. Situations where nominees are hand picked is unfair. Indeed, the habit of relatives of the deceased inheriting political offices is retrogressive. We must say no to political dynasties as they deny other able leaders a chance to contribute to nation building.

Therefore, ODM must be seen to lead by example on all aspects of democracy. Being the largest political outfit in the country and having been founded on democratic ideals, the country looks to the Odinga-led party to show the way. We can’t expect any less from the “chungwa party.”

Bernard A
Via E-mail

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