Saturday, May 07, 2005

Patriotic Decision By The LDP

By Adongo Ogony

I applaud the LDP for taking sides with the people of Kenya in the post Bomas Constitutional review process. Millions of Kenyans are not prepared to assist Kiraitu and his friends in manufacturing a constitution for Kibaki and his cohorts in government. The LDP decision to remove itself from the State House sponsored list of PSC members will go along way in exposing the fallacy that Kibaki wants to build a national consensus on the so-called contentious issues which Kibaki and his friends have propped up to justify their shameless attempt to retain the Moi constitution under a new cover.

One thing is clear:

If the Kibaki team cannot even accept fair representation from the diverse voices and groups represented in parliament to be reflected in the membership of PSC, how on earth can they claim that they want a consensus from the wider Kenyan communities. Do we as Kenyan citizens have to pass Kiraitu’s “government friendly test” to be included in the consultation process? Let’s face it a consensus that does not invite and endorse divergent views and opinions cannot be called a consensus. Basic common sense indicates one does not build a consensus with friends and sycophants. That is like talking to yourself and expecting to find solutions to your problems. It is the shortest cut to a fool's paradise.

Kiraitu has insisted that the PSC must have a majority of government friendly MP’s, which would imply that its primary purpose is to invent a government friendly constitution. Good for him, except he keeps forgetting that we are not in the process of making a constitution for the government nor are we making one for the DP and its allies.

Personally I concur with groups like the NCEC, LSK and other civil society and human rights organizations which have condemned the very idea that MPs are going to be the ones to write a constitution for the country after conducting some fake “wide consultation”. The MPs know this is against the law, but they think if they yell and shout in parliament long enough and get all tribal leaders to toe the line everything will be just fine. That is what Moi thought before the 2002 elections. Ask him what he thinks now. The LDP has to move beyond merely asking to sit at Kiraitu’s table to join the feast on our blood and flesh. They have to denounce the very Act, otherwise they will just be another hurdle for the people to jump over.

Kenyans want a constitution for the whole country that reflects the views they gave the CKRC commissioners during the consultations. There are no shortcuts around that basic premise. Many Kenyans including the vinyangarikas, like Adongo Ogony, gave their views to the CKRC and so did the mighty and the powerful. What we need now is to audit those views and determine to what extent they are represented in the Bomas Draft. If they are reflected in the Draft we are fine with the Draft and Kiraitu can collect all his friends and party all night, except in muthaiga of course, and we will still support what Kenyans have demanded.

The other significant aspect of the LDP pullout from the fraudulent PSC is that it is yet another hole in the trickery Kiraitu tried to weave into the Constitutional Amendment Act 2004. Aware that the Amendment Act will face major legal challenges in court, Kiraitu and the AG Amos Wako tried to frame the Act with an inbuilt fallacy (supposedly some kind of genius) about the Act promoting “wide consultation” among Kenyans before the new Draft from State House is taken to the referendum.

The mere fact that the government has arrogated itself the right to handpick PSC members from well-known sycophants who will sing the chorus after Kiraitu negates the notion of “wide consultation” even within parliament itself. The gangster politics going on in parliament where opposition MPs are bought with ministerial positions, promises and “protection” from the law is the very antithesis of the democratic values Kenyans want ingrained in the new constitution.

If Kenyans want to see how their new constitution will be manufactured by parliament they had a good look at the fraudsters at work when the entire issue of equitable representation for the PSC was reduced to a simple war of attrition against the LDP. This is exactly what Kiraitu and company intend to do in writing the new constitution. Everything will be reduced to simply getting the numbers to teach the LDP a lesson and nobody will even remember that the constitution is about Kenyans not political supremacy in Narc. Are we really prepared as a nation to mortgage our future to these vultures in parliament? I don’t think so. The good thing is they never learn a thing. They are too full of themselves to see a few feet in front of their bellies.

From the actions of Kiriatu and company we now understand that the Constitutional Amendment Act actually means the government will “consult widely” with those who are considered as friendly to the Kibaki/Kiraitu clique in government. Unfortunately, this group does not even represent the whole government in power today, leave alone being representative of the Kenyan public.

I hold the opinion that Kibaki is not the government of Kenya and neither is Kiraitu. These are individuals with responsibilities in the Narc government but despite the huge egos of folks like Kiraitu, the Narc government is much bigger than the handful of State House operatives who think they own the country. The Narc government Kenyans elected on Dec 27, 2005 comprises of a multitude of parties including the DP, LDP, Ford Kenya, NPK, NCEC and others. If the government representation in the PSC cannot even reflect the diversity of the government Kenyans voted for, how can we even imagine that the clique within Narc that “owns” the government would allow anybody else outside the government to meaningfully participate in this “wide consultation”?

From the foregoing I support the sentiments expressed by Ndung'u Wainaina in a statement from the NCEC that the LDP needs to go a step further and join the civil society groups that are preparing to take Kiraitu’s Constitutional Amendment Act 2004 to court. In fact I would add that the LDP has even a more clear case to throw this silly little fraud into the dustbin of history where it belongs. The LDP is a big part of the government whether the DP chauvinists like it or not. They earned their position in government by popular vote from the electorate. If they are being gagged and muzzled before being selectively “allowed” to participate in the PSC then the entire base for consultations and consensus building in the post Bomas review process amounts to complete nonsense and a fraud that the Kenyans courts must deal with.

This brings me to the other tortured face of the bogus “wide consultations” which is programmed to only include government (Kiraitu/Kibaki) friendly participants. The opportunists and outright sellouts within the civil society and religious communities are already busy inventing their own “consultation forums”. There must be big money flowing from every corner for these groups. I think it is like when money started flowing in the HIV/AIDS education and awareness campaign. All sorts of crooks with help from those who controlled the big pot came with all sorts of fictitious groups, manufactured fake invoices, got paid and melted into thin air as HIV/AIDS victims continue to wallow in misery and neglect.

Today Kenya is in season for fake and out-rightly compromised “consultation forums”. The catch is that before one embarks on the mission they have to be tested to determine how “government friendly” they are. Once you pass the test, the next move is to ensure you have a Christian leader, a Muslim leader, someone from the Hindu community, get folks from different tribes with the right sounding names and sprinkle with the usual suspects and viola you have a “Multi Sectoral Consultation Group” and you and your team are off to the big hotels to write a constitution for poor Wanjiku who can only be allowed in the vicinity as cleaners, janitors, waiters and waitresses to the busy Waheshimiwa. This is what they call “wide consultation” with the civil society. It is a cruel joke and we are going to expose it for what it is worth.

Take the case of our long-suffering soldier for Wanjiku, Rev. Mutava Musyimi. This guy is a case study in how the civil society itself is morally corrupted and unrepresentative of the people in whose name they take the podium repeatedly. A week ago Musyimi speaking to Nation reporters said his un-elected, unaccountable, completely unrepresentative group of self-appointed people has already written a 63-page constitution for Kenya. According to the good Reverent, he agrees with Murungi that Kenya should have a PM of the office messenger variety; no executive powers and that devolution should be deferred to some unknown future after a task force has worked the details. Of course the Reverent did not bother to tell Kenyans how he determined that this is what Kenyans asked for during the consultations. We know for a fact that this is not what Kiraitu nor Kibaki asked for then, but we do know it is what they have been fighting for since wrapping themselves with the powers President Moi enjoyed and which they are clinging to with unprecedented desperation.

The only problem the Rev. Musyimi said was that he was in disagreement with Murungi over the cabinet. Rev. Muysimi’s group want the cabinet appointed from the public not from the MPs. Murungi wants the cabinet appointed from the MPs. The other disagreement between the two is that Muysimi team want one third of MPs nominated. To explain this further, Njoki Ndungu, a nominated MP who is a member of Musyimi’s handpicked group told the Nation the nominations is important because “there are many people who toil for the parties who need to be rewarded”

It is sad to say, but this ridiculous changing of farting positions is what the folks in government want to call “wide consultations”. It is like you have a big one coming and you know you are going to stink the joint but don’t want the embarrassment of a noisy fart, so you shift position to let it come quietly to the unsuspecting victims. I am not so sure Kenyans are going to choke quietly on the filth a section of the government with well selected friends want to impose on us.

The most amusing thing about Muysimi’s statement to the Nation is that he has no shame referring to the Bomas Draft as not being representative of Kenyans. Here is a guy writing a whole constitution for the country in some hotel suite with a bunch of friends and he has the nerves to tell Kenyans that his group is more representative of Kenya than the 630 delegates at the National Constitution Conference who produced the Bomas Draft. By the way this is the second draft Muysimi has produced, the first one was almost a solo effort and was dismissed by Bomas delegates as nonsense. I don’t know if the new one is a photo copy of the old joke, but I think people like Muysimi remind Kenyans that our struggle for a people driven constitution must be removed from the posh hotel rooms and other corridors where the privileged congregate into the real battlefield where it all started.

The cowards and sycophants in parliament who think they can steam roll their King’s constitution on Kenyans are going to be sorry when the chicken comes home to roost. Kenyans will not accept a bogus constitution imposed by MP’s. Our Wabunge are probably the most unpopular lot in the nation and if they think all they need to do to get Kibaki his constitution is to gang up on the LDP, I feel sorry for them. The LDP may have lost the battle in parliament but they have won the hearts and minds of millions of patriotic Kenyans who are ready to reject MPs lording it over us further by imposing a constitution for their liking.

The real challenge for the LDP is that a lot of those who pulled out of the parliamentary fraud are pretty timid creatures and that is what the “government” is banking on. Some will be bought back, others will be threatened in one way or the other to herd them like sheep to join the other vultures in devouring the Bomas Draft constitution and giving Kenyans the waste that comes from the rear end. We will not accept it.

I have always argued that the battle for a new democratic constitution for Kenya is headed back to the streets away from the corridors of corruption and confusion that our politicians are familiar with. The challenge for the LDP and particularly for Raila Odinga who is known for his guts and courage even in the face of danger is how far are they willing to join with the masses of Kenya to confront the constitutional thieves at State House and in parliament. One thing they will have to forget about are the flags (ministerial positions) and that is where a lot of them are going to succumb and be willing to sell the people down the drains.

In the bigger picture Kenyans have already lost in a big way when MPs think the constitution is just a matter of political jingoism and foolish bravados of “humiliating the LDP” and all that crap that has no political value in real life. The notion that Kenyans are going to sit idle on the sides as we watch Kiraitu and his team write a constitution for our country is dangerous fiction.

Wananchi are gearing for a war with the constitutional fraudsters and getting Raila and the LDP squarely on our side is a big step in the right direction. We will loose some of them to Murungi but we have a lot of work for those willing to stick with the masses. I would assure Raila and company that for every vote they lost in parliament they gained hundreds of thousands of people willing to do battle to usher in a new era where sycophancy and opportunism do not dominate our political dispensations.

One scary aspect of it all is the reality that if the elites on divergent sides of the constitution cannot accommodate each other imagine the big battles and outright confrontations that awaits the nation at the referendum? The truth of the matter is if we don’t fight this war now, our children will have to revisit it ten years from now. I think many Kenyans are ready and willing to finish what they started.

The writer is a human rights activist

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