Sunday, February 27, 2011

Speaker's defence of the Constitution shows he is in touch with the mood of Kenyans

Published on 21/02/2011
Public Watchdog
Yes, Mr Speaker, you might today be feeling enormous pressure arising from your last week’s ruling but one thing is absolutely clear: you stand for Kenya, and you are with the people and who can be against you — except those pursuing self-interests or vested interests.
Kenyans and members of the international community stand with you today in defence of our Constitution amid growing conflict between the Legislature and the Executive arms of Government over nominees to the constitutional offices of the Chief Justice, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget.
Abdicating duties
As long as you remain on the side of the people — and we urge you to resolutely be steadfast — then all the current emerging political actors regrouping for short-term expediencies will become exercises in futility.
As a people, and a country, we must pay attention to the growing tendencies of those elected or appointed to positions of authority to abdicate their responsibilities to the citizenry in pursuits of vested agendas, and engage in acts of self-preservations actions.
It is no wonder then that your ruling in the House on a matter of great national importance — that should have helped settle procedural and constitutional questions — has unduly, been misinterpreted in terms of winners and losers in the political realm. What, then, is the crux’s of the matter?
First, we address our legislators who, this afternoon, are seeking to demonstrate their debate mastery, and urge them not to act for or play to the vested interests gallery, but those of the people of Kenya.
Yes, each and every legislature belongs to a political interest. Worse still, some may just be acting as political hirelings, depending on the matter of the moment.
If history offers useful lessons, then political sycophancy informed by narrow vested interests remain determining factors in Kenya’s young democracy, manifesting in political intrigues and limitation of coalition marriages.
We have witnessed a growing influence of Parliament and its assertiveness, thanks to the resoluteness of the current Speaker Kenneth Marende, supported by his deputy Farah Maalim. As a country, we must acknowledge the sustained demonstrable leadership and resoluteness of Speaker Marende in critical milestone rulings, which safeguarded public interests.
Where the Executive, fails to act decisively, he has been resolute. The people must resolve to support the Speaker against threats by any vested political interests.
Second, this afternoon the legislators must speak for public interest and resist being influenced by trade-offs, ministerial appointment promises or even money from any side of the political divide.
Show Leadership
In the same spirit, the ministers, must stand to be counted in side of supporting public interests. Why? This the time for every legislator to stand up to be counted either in the side of the people and public interests or those self interest and vested courses.
With just eighteen months before the next General Election, it is important for the people to take stock of the position of every leader on matters of national importance. Stand up and be counted!
While Institutions act, as critical pillars of strengthening democracy-will of the people, remain the determinant in getting the right people elected to position, which through their action makes meaningful differences in society.
Third, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have a choice, either to allow the current impasse to grow out of control, or to show leadership and find a workable political resolution that serve public interests.
The hardening political positions are unhelpful and have everything to do with succession politics, and/or control of institutions that must remain independent from any political interests.
Thus, it is critical for the two leaders to allow for a transparent process consistent with the constitution that would lead to competitive search and appointments of suitable persons to the constitutional offices in the best interest of all Kenyans.
Indeed, a deepening crisis could lead to polarisation that could render the implementation of critical aspects of the constitution such as electoral and judicial reforms unworkable.
The judges constituted to determine the legal interpretation of this matter must carry out their responsibility diligently and give their verdict as soon as possible –without meddling, fear or favour-given enormity of public interests at stake.
We have witnessed egregious meddling in the positions of trust in critical decisions in the past, but an emerging independence of mind is now growing.
Finally, any attempt in any quarter to impose anyone to position of authority including that of a compliant speaker, judiciary or even a prime minister would be resisted by the collective will of the Kenyan people, today or tomorrow — democratically, overwhelmingly and with due regards to what is best to the collective interest of this country, this being a matter of compelling public interests!
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