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Governors should stand moral ground to achieve more

By Isaac Omulo
Monday, September 21st, 2020
Constitution of Kenya. Photo/Courtesy
In summary

It was hailed as progressive. Indeed, the 2010 Constitution ushered a new era in Kenya’s human rights dispensation and jurisprudence. A milestone.

Thanks to an intensive and extensive civic education preceding and proceeded its promulgation, the Kenyan public, low and high, breathed a fresh air of freedom hitherto unknown to them.

Some critics argue that “there is too much freedom in Kenya”. But, as a lawyer friend intimated the other day, there can never be too much freedom.

It will take time to get used to it, but people have a right to know their rights. It is their right to enjoy that “too much freedom, too.”

Heads of families rode roughshod over their subjects. Woe unto him or her who dared question the authority of fathers, even when they visited barbaric human rights abuse on their children and spouses.

That was put to end in one fell swoop. Kenya became a model of freedom in the continent. 

Separation of powers is so sacrosanct that the judiciary can annul a presidential election victory.

That was historic, even if it left very sour taste in some peoples’ mouths. Thanks, to a large extent, to the 2010 Constitution.

That is the positive side of the constitution. Legal minds behind the 2010 Constitution like Rarieda legislator, Otiende Amolo, have said there is room for improvement. 

On the negative side is wanton abuse of power by regional kingpins upon whom executive power was devolved.

From insisting on being addressed as Their Excellencies, to arrogating upon themselves excessive executive power, governors are behaving like some small gods.

A middle ground must be found when that time comes to review the constitution, as  Otiende and some leaders intimated, of electing governors.

I am not talking about changing the constitution to expand the executive for political expediency. 

Governors’ offices are at odds with the politicians’ interests, the way Kenyans understand it.

What the drafters envisaged was a technocrat, who would draw his mandate from the voters, but not in the same type of universal suffrage that elected leaders like senators do. 

Without naming names, it is already very evident who technocrats and politicians are in this whole devolution conundrum.

And the ramifications can be seen. Wanton abuse of office and misuse of power with impunity.

Some governors found the offices and their trappings too inviting. Actually, too much power was given to this office that some holders got drunk with it.

When you give too much power to a politician with no known record of sound public management, you are courting disaster.

This explains what is going on in our counties. Massive looting of public resources and flaunting it in broad day light.

Comedians who masquerade as politicians excite voters with empty rhetoric which leaves them in uproarious laughter. They get elected on the strength of this ability to entertain. 

Technocrats have little time for such drama. They seek these offices to do a good job, to transform their people.

They go straight to the point of why they are seeking elective offices. Therein lies the quandary.

Some assemblies have become theatres of the absurd, as MCAs lay bare their lack of decorum, their moral poverty. 

When governors with sound judgement stand their ground, MCAs threaten them with impeachment.

They have abdicated their oversight roles. They do not see any opportunity to extort governors they let pass. [email protected]

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