We’re living in amazing times indeed! What was furiously rejected yesterday is being embraced today with alacrity. Remember the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)?
Wasn’t it supposed to be a vile project to create unnecessary positions for those hated dynasties? We were lectured that UDA’s focus would be the economy and “mama mboga” (green grocer), not “wadosi” (the rich) who wanted to change the Constitution to share positions.
Ehe, we now want key elements of BBI back. Today is exactly 97 days since the President and his deputy were sworn in. They promised a raft of things for “hustlers” within their “First 100 Days” in office. Who would ever have imagined changing the Constitution would be in this early agenda?
The vehemence with which UDA had denounced BBI proponents during their campaigns was out of this world. The latter were called “watapeli” (con artistes) and “wakora” (thugs). Things turn full circle rather fast in Kenya, where hypocrisy is the DNA of politics. The new constitutional change proposals seek to create an official opposition leader in Parliament and increase the number of nominated MPs (women) to cure the gender imbalance there.
Exactly as BBI sought to do. Even entrenching the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) in the Constitution is something the BBI proposed. And isn’t Musalia Mudavadi occupying an office that BBI simply wanted to constitutionalise?
I doubt the Judiciary, feted as it has been by the new administration, will stand in the way, unlike the wilful impediment it became to Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
It is not far-fetched to speculate the Judiciary had something personal against Uhuru. Injunctions kept flying at his administration’s actions left, right and centre, many of which made no sense other than to frustrate him. The trend got so bad that at some point the government simply ignored the more bizarre rulings. When annulling the 2017 election, the Supreme Court talked of elections being about “process” and not just the voting.
During this year’s presidential election petition, the same court suggested “process” was not as crucial as actual results. Keen people noted the contradiction. When killing BBI, the judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal waxed lyrical about a nebulous concept they called “Basic Structure” of the Constitution they claimed was immutable. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear this argument anymore.
“Basic Structure” and all that were mere theories. The Judiciary killed BBI because of the matter of Ombudsman. As for the current President’s Rift Valley circle, their problem was with the one-man-one-vote-one-shilling idea. Forget whatever other justifications they gave for their opposition to BBI.
Strangely, the Mt Kenya UDA cheerleaders didn’t want to see that. In the fullness of time, their complicity in blindly rejecting an initiative that upheld the principle of equitable representation will haunt them politically. Unsurprisingly, the President’s new memo to Parliament is mum on the one-man-one-vote-one-shilling idea.
The Judiciary knows the list of the recently appointed principal secretaries was an anomaly. Twenty-six PSs out of a total of 51 appointees coming from just two communities certainly does not meet the constitutional requirement of ethnic and regional balance. But when the issue was raised in court, it was airily let to pass. I expect the Executive’s wish not to hold a referendum but to restrict the constitutional alterations within Parliament might not be contested by our esteemed judges.
Why the sudden enthusiasm to accommodate the opposition? I must admit I’m not privy to the mysterious ways of this government. Is this a prelude to some sort of “Handshake”? (The UDA faithful hotly deny that). Everything aside, it would be a case of déjà vu to see Azimio leader Raila do a handshake with this government.
The utter confusion this would cause to Mt Kenya UDAists with their hate-filled demonisation of him would be something to behold. They’d get raving mad that the ‘devil’ they voted to take “home” to Bondo has reappeared with a big state office courtesy of the UDA government they singularly put in power.
It’s called just desserts. Nobody should imagine a Raila rapprochement with the government is impossible. In fact, the government should go for it. And I think Raila should reciprocate. Formerly Azimio diehards like Cotu’s Francis Atwoli, among others, have been happily received in State House. Why not him?
In these first 100 days, things have moved at a frenetic pace. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has been dropping corruption and even murder cases involving favoured politicians like dirty merchandise. Wheeler-dealers with previous cases of tax evasion are getting state jobs. The electoral commission has been dismantled.
The Judiciary coos in bed with the Executive. Now State House wants the Constitution amended. All this happening in less than 100 days. And we have five years to go, or 1,729 more days. Imagine what will have happened by then!
On the proposed constitution changes, the real fear is: are they a smokescreen for something more sinister? Is all this a dress rehearsal for something to come? What’s the real motive? Last month, a nondescript MP, Salah Yakub, gave everybody an indicator of the dangerous cards that may be in store. Be alert.