Saturday, July 23, 2005

ADONGO Says: Kibaki Must Go.

By Adongo Ogony

Any fool should have seen

the political turmoil in our country today coming except the man we elected as our president and his cabal of incompetent and corrupt loyalists in State House. Rarely in history does a clique of power maniacs determine the fate of a people, however long that clique may stay in power. In Kibaki’s case it has taken less than three years for his regime to face a major rebellion from the populace. Good for them.

For now, Kibaki and

his cohorts are rejoicing in the hollow and useless “victory” they achieved in parliament when the “Government Side”, which should be appropriately called the enemies of the Kenyan people, voted to accept the fraudulent Kibaki Draft constitution. That “victory” will be the death sentence for the Kibaki regime.

Make no mistake about it. The new wave of civil unrest and mass action sweeping through our nation today will prove to be a significant nail in the overdue coffin for Kibaki and his lot. What we saw in the last couple of days is a small kionjo of the real war coming in the days ahead as Wako prepares and publishes the Kibaki Draft Constitution in readiness for a national referendum where Kenyans will accept or reject the Draft. My guess is that when the referendum campaigns begin, Mzee is going to need a bunker to snore away as the full might of the people come crashing on the treacherous actions of his regime to hijack the constitutional making process.

The mere fact that the entire national security apparatus of Kenya has been at war with the citizens demanding their rights and freedoms from a government they elected not so long ago to achieve those very goals should send shock waves to all those who had already anointed Kibaki as our president till 2012. I bet you they are not going to wake up from their deep slumber until they are out of the door. It will be much sooner than they think. Trust me.

In the meantime Kibaki and his handlers are going to work the cops into exhaustion sending the overworked, underpaid regular police, riot police, GSU paratroopers, Secret Police and other hired goons to terrorize and even kill their sisters and brothers fighting for a new and better Kenya. They are going to invent fallacies and laughable gimmicks of how this or that group of activists are planning to bring “chaos and mayhem” in the country. They are going to tell us it is just a few malcontents causing trouble. They are going to try to convince themselves that the protestors are just “looters and hooligans”. In fact they will soon start licensing counter demos. None of that is going to help. Moi tried all that crap before and look where it landed him.

They are going to continue with their predictable venomous attacks on fellow politicians who are not fuataring Mzee's orders to rob the nation of its hard fought democratic gains as they intensify the war against the new constitutional framework we achieved through the Bomas process. I’ll be surprised if in the next couple of days the government does not invent a new lie of “ a coup plot” in the making. The good news is that it really doesn’t matter. The people of Kenya know the truth and they are ready to fight for their rights. That is all that matters. The constitutional bandits at State House are in a death embrace with a fate they cannot comprehend. They do not understand that no leader can be bigger than the people and the nation. They do not understand that it is impossible to keep your boots on the throats of a conscious people. Kenyans swept Moi out of office and they know they can take anybody out of that office if and when it becomes necessary.

Now lets get to the nitty gritty of the matter. I disagree with those who say Kibaki and his crew has maintained the same old Moi constitution with their mutilation of the Bomas Draft. The truth is the Kibaki constitution is way worse than the hideous one they inherited from the previous regime. What Kibaki and his team want to impose on the nation is not even a constitution. It is a fake cut and paste con job whose primary purpose is to ensure that the President takes full control of all aspects of economic and political life of the nation.

Let me clarify my point. The number one problem Kenyans cited with the current constitution was in relation to the powers of the Presidency. Kenyans have been mad for a long time with how excessive powers of the president wrecked their country.

Kenyans know that the presidency has been a tool to loot the country’s resources and impoverish the nation. They have cases like Goldenberg and now Anglo Fleecing schemers to prove it. They know the presidency has been the tool to rob Kenyans off their land and for seizure of other public property up to and including land for hospitals, forest lands and even spaces meant for mosques, churches, stadia even public toilets na kadhalika. State House has been the mafia centre in Kenya for all the forty years of our national independence and Kenyans wanted to put an end to all that by diversifying the executive powers in the political hierarchy that governs the nation. The Kibaki folks have rejected that and they expect us to meekly accept their nonsense. We won’t.

Secondly the presidency has been the epi-centre of repression and brutal abuse of human rights and Kenyans have the hard evidence of Nyayo House torture chambers, endless massacres in North Eastern Province and elsewhere, politically motivated ethnic cleansing, political assassinations and a whole lot more all done under the protection of State House. That is why we wanted to disburse power so that no one individual with a bunch of sycophants and cohorts will hold the nation and its people hostage. Guess what, as we speak today, an old home-guard who helped in the torturing of Mau Mau freedom fighters working under the auspices of the Office of the President is busy supervising yet another wave of brutal suppression of the rights of Kenyans whose only crime is to want a new and truly democratic constitution.

So what is my point? I am saying the new Kibaki constitution minted in the exclusive Sun ‘N Sand Beach Hotel in Kilifi has given Kibaki all those powers Kenyans wanted distributed and added even more. If we accept the fraud emerging from parliament President Kibaki is going to have even more powers than Moi ever had. For one Kibaki will have the power to appoint and fire a Prime Minister to be his kind of hatchet man or woman in the cabinet.

The worst part of the whole PM thing is that it is structured in such away that Kibaki could actually appoint his wife Lucy to the position. All he would need to do is nominate Madame Lucy to parliament as a Narc MP, and viola the first couple can occupy both seats. The Kibaki version of the draft says the president can nominate any MP from the party with majority seats in parliament to be the PM. That MP does not have to be a leader of any kind in the party. Well the parliamentarians may raise objections to that appointment according to the Draft, but as we know with our MPs all you need is a retreat in the luxurious hotels for the wajumbe to frolic, have some drinks and do God knows what else in their rooms and you have the numbers. The bottom line is the PM as useless as the position is in the Kibaki Draft will be a personal friend or a sycophant that the president wants. That makes a mockery of what Kenyans asked for and secured through the Bomas Draft.

In the Bomas Draft, the PM has real powers including that of appointing the cabinet. The PM comes into office with a constituency since that person must be the leader of a party or a coalition with the majority of MPs in parliament. That will be a person with clout and national recognition as opposed to someone whose only credential is that the president likes them for whatever reason.

In my opinion the brutal mutilation of the proposals on the executive alone are enough to warrant a complete rejection of the Kibaki Draft. Kenyans wanted an end to the era of presidential monarchy and Kibaki and his people not only want to perpetuate them, they actually want to entrench them further. It will not happen. We have told them that a million times and they didn’t listen to us. Now they will have to listen to a higher voice. That of the masses of the people of Kenya. It is going to be loud, clear and courageous and the cowards in State House are going to have nowhere to hide.

The other thing that has convinced me that the Kibaki Draft is actually worse than the current constitution is the botched devolution process. Devolution of powers combined with the changes in the executive structures provided the heart and soul for the birth of a new free and more equitable Kenya.

In terms of devolution the Kibaki Draft has killed the regions which was at the centre of the devolved power structures and instead want to keep the districts as some kind of quasi-independent structures. How laughable. The districts as we know are already just too small to have any meaningful chance to exercise any form of devolved powers. They have no tax base to speak of and we know a good number of them were created for political expediency making them not even viable to carry out the mundane tasks assigned to the District Administrations by the central government.

How on earth would such entities provide some “tier” of devolution with credible governance structures deriving their authority from the local populace? They can’t and the Kibaki folks know that. I mean the ruling elites in Kenya are the worst types of opportunists and mercenaries but at least they are not stupid. They know the district structures have no capacity to implement any meaningful devolution, so they want to hoodwink Kenyans into believing that we can have regional devolution with the districts as the centres of those powers. Well Kenyans are not stupid either.

The reason Kibaki and his people have killed the regions as the centres of devolution is because they know the regions would have the necessary tax base as well as enough political clout and strong representation to demand fair and equitable utilization of regional and national resources to benefit all the peoples and communities of our great land. That is what Kibaki can’t fathom.

Mzee wants to keep his fingers in all the cookie jars so that our national resources remain firmly in his hands to be utilized and misused as he pleases. And to imagine that this is happening at a time when Kenyans are at war with each other over resource utilization and allocation just goes to convince the nation that our political leadership has an agenda completely alien to the interests of our people. Look at the problems in Mau forest, Marsabit, Laikipia, Kwanza, Taita Taveta and the rest of the coast and all over the country. Kenyans are not killing each other because they take pleasure in the act as the government spokesman recently insinuated. They are fighting and killing each other because as a nation we have not developed the right formula and mechanisms to provide resources and opportunities for each community in a fair and equitable manner. That is why we negotiated for regional devolution which Kibaki wants to kill. We not allow him to succeed.

There are many other issues why I say the Kibaki Draft is a fraud, but I sight those two broad areas because I think they represent the heart of the matter.

The other tragedy with the fake Kibaki Draft lies in the process. There is a reason Kenyans came up with the Bomas process. It was to avoid acrimony, violence and even the break up of the nation. Bomas wasn’t a gift from heaven. It was a product of a peoples’ struggle that forced the politicians to realize that if they didn’t stop playing games, they were going to have a war in their hands. Kibaki has brought us full circle to the battlefield and if he thinks he can hide away from it, he is going to be sorry.

In a piece I wrote sometimes back published in the Kenya Times May 5, 2005 I had this to say:

“The fundamental purpose of a national constitution is to bring the nation together not to tear it apart, least of all on ethnic supremacist illusions. Our constitution has to enable our diverse communities to define themselves as one people pursuing common goals and bound by common values, with equal rights and responsibilities. We have fought for decades negotiating for a constitution that honours and empowers our diversity as a people and a nation, namely our ethnic, religious, gender and demographic diversities…”

What I was saying is that the new constitution must be a unifier of the nation, not a divider of our people. The new constitution must respect and value our diversity not manipulate and exploit it. The new constitution must put the interests of the people of Kenya at the centre not the parochial selfish agenda of the elites in power. These are fundamental parameters in constitution making in the 21st century and it is pitiful that the Kibaki monarchists think they can lie and cheat around these issues and get away with it. They won’t.

In my opinion the Kibaki draft and the process the ruling clique is using to impose it on Kenyans has already destroyed the very core principles for which we need and must have a democratic national constitution. When parliamentarians have to barricade themselves in Bunge protected by armed police and the Riot Squad because they are terrified of the masses of Kenyans everything for which we need a constitution is already lost.

The process of constitution making parliament has adopted is a lose lose situation for Kenya. Everybody is a looser. Those who think the government has won the battle over the constitution are engaging in dangerous delusions. More importantly the people of Kenya will win in the end but because of the foolishness of the constitutional bandits at State House there is going to be a steep price to pay.

Kenyans are going to continue to loose lives in the battles ahead; there will be lose of property; lose of limbs and many injuries. The scariest aspect is the risk of a total breakdown in the fabric of our nation which could very well lead to a break up of our nation state. And all that for what? So that a few corrupt and politically bankrupt leaders may have a few more years at the trough? I don’t think it is worth it, but Kibaki and his people have laid their bed and they will have to sleep on it. Good luck.

Now a look ahead, Where does this thing go from here? The AG Amos Wako has 30 days to come up with the final draft. As far as many Kenyans are concerned Wako’s Draft is basically irrelevant. It is intriguing to note that a good chunk of the rubbish from Kilifi was thrown out by the Speaker of the House Francis Ole Kaparo as illegal and therefore will not feature in Wako’s Draft. To me it means nothing important. In fact it just goes further to show that parliament has no clue what they are doing except trying to get President Kibaki the constitution he is craving for.

The real issue is what ordinary Kenyans and activist groups and politicians opposed to the Kibaki constitution are going to do. A few things are obvious in that regard. Mass action is going to spread and diversify as different communities re-engage in the constitutional process. The one blunder the constitutional thieves made was to antagonize just about every group that has been active in the constitutional process for the last decade and a half. It is dangerous to underestimate the capacity of these groups to galvanize and mobilize the people to fight for a truly people driven constitution. Moi made that mistake and paid the price. These groups are going to be very active all across the country and are going to give Kibaki and Michuki nightmares as we approach the referendum.

The big question is the role the politicians and political groups that opposed the Kibaki draft are going to do. I said a long time ago that the likes of Raila Odinga and others who have stood with Wanjiku throughout the tumultuous time when State House hijacked the process will have to eventually make up their minds whether they are with Wanjiku all the way or whether they prefer to keep the flags. The time for that decision is now. I don’t think Raila or anybody needs to resign from the cabinet, they are there by right and they are entitled to participate in the constitutional struggles as any other Kenya. The dilemma for them is that they need to be fully engaged in mobilizing political support to defeat the Kibaki Draft at the referendum and send Kibaki back to Othaya. As soon as they get into that mode they will be fired and that would be one of the best things that could happen in the next month or so. We need Raila and others to stand firm with the people and stop playing chicken games like Kalanzo Musyoka disappearing from parliament and if that means they are going to be fired, the better. It is critical to know where the politicians who opposed the Kibaki Draft stand in the real battle we have to face on the ground.

The other critical thing are the pending constitutional cases. Justice Gicheru is sitting on some real dynamites that could blow the entire Kibaki Draft into smithereens. Kenyans have filed cases challenging the legality of the Constitutional Amendment Act 2004 and sooner or later these cases have to be heard. It would be a tragedy to hold those cases until after the referendum because if for example as many legal experts have pointed out the courts rule that the Amendment Act was unconstitutional then the whole exercise that has been going on for the last couple of months is null and void and we are back to the Bomas Draft. It is imperative that Justice Gicheru sets up the constitutional courts to determine these cases now; otherwise he would be abrogating his duties.

My guess is that as soon as Wako publishes the Kibaki Draft there will be injunction cases filed to stop any referendum from being held until after the constitutional cases are resolved. At that point Gicheru would have no choice but to get the constitutional cases going and there will be several. So for those dancing themselves lame about “victory” in parliament you might want to hang on to your dancing gear. There might be a change of costumes for the real dance.

Finally the end game of the mess the Kibaki regime has created around the constitution has to be settled in the 2007 General Elections. I don’t see a new constitution in Kenya until after the 2007 elections and hopefully those who have betrayed our country thus far will no longer hold the reins of power and our nation will be free from the hostage takers of Narc. How we get there is another story altogether and will be the subject of my next article.

The writer is a human rights activist.

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