Let’s embrace constitutionalism to build strong nation
The current sabre-rattling about the so-called Cherera four brings out many positive and negative attributes about our governance.
To those who live under a rock, the just concluded elections were managed by the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which has a chair and several commissioners.
The commission split in the middle at the tail end of the elections, with the Cherera and her three colleagues questioning the process. Whereas this is a healthy and very legal act, the timing, and the fact that the dissenters were documented on national TV and social media participating in the process holistically resulted in a matter of court process.
Kenya is a relatively advanced democracy. Despite all our weaknesses and room for improvement, we have institutions that work, guide, and stabilise our governance matters.
The Supreme Court listened to all parties involved in the presidential petition and pronounced itself on the matter. In every dispute, there will always be an outcome against one or the other, but this should never signal the beginning of enmity. Instead, it should be a re-awakening call to the parties involved to focus in specific areas of improvement to make things better as we go forward.
Often, the best way to face a problem is to self-reflect instead of finding fault in everything and everyone except yourself.
Granted, it may be difficult for some to detach from politics fully, but we are entering a dangerous version of divisive confrontational politics, which is unhealthy. Matters that are going through constitutional procedures that are embedded in our legal systems need not be politicised.
If there is a genuine feeling of vindictiveness in how a process is handled, it may help to bring experts on board to help point out this by placing tangible evidence on the table as they offer corrective measures.
The old school, warlord-like approach of “don’t touch my people” will take us back to the caves instead of strengthening democracy and its institutions. It doesn’t augur well to be deemed to be targeting a group for exercising their democratic rights. Similarly, it is unacceptable for politicians to attack parliamentary committees that are exercising the same democratic rights.
We cannot run a nation based on chest-thumping and threats. We must unpack the Constitution and let it guide us into prosperity.
All leaders across the divide owe Wanjiku fidelity to the Constitution in their utterances, actions and execution of duties. It will be catastrophic if we allow the classic Mr Jones syndrome to manifest itself in our systems, where you are deemed guilty unless you belong to a certain inner clique.
All citizens are equal before the law, the Constitution is supreme, and there are no exceptions whether they are walking on twos, driving on fours, or flying business class. Let us focus our resources on fighting urgent and critical issues such as famine, education, health system and clean water for all.
— The writer is a curriculum developer and researcher