When the police cancelled the Limuru 2B meeting last month several people argued that there was no need to challenge what was clearly an injustice.
It seemed that GEMA’s decision to abrogate on itself the right to determine who all those of us from the three communities would vote for was not meant to be challenged.
It was also clear that our calls for nationalism amongst Kenyans as we headed to the general election were unwelcome as far as some powerful individuals in Central Kenya were concerned. The use of police might to scuttle our legally convened meeting was meant to show that we were also a powerless minority in this discourse.
However several principles exist that show that might is not necessarily more powerful than right. The Pareto principle says that roughly 80pc of the effects of most events come from the efforts of 20pc of the participants.
In the Bible, Jesus gives a story of a farmer who went out to sow with a bag of seeds, and walked across his farm flinging these seeds all over the place.
In the process of sowing these seeds, 25pc of the seeds fell on rocky ground and were eaten by birds; 25pc fell on shallow soil, germinated very fast but dried up because of lack of soil depth; the third 25pc fell amongst thorns, germinated, but was choked by the thorns and did not produce any fruit.
However the final 25pc fell on good soil, germinated well and produced over a hundred fold in harvest. In essence despite losing 75pc of the seed the farmer still harvested enough for the process to have been more than worthwhile.
These secular and religious examples indicate that more often than not being on the side perceived to be more powerful does not necessarily guarantee that one will win.
In the case of Limuru 2B powerful forces were clearly able to use the police to cancel a legal meeting in attempts to thwart the rights of other Kenyans to express divergent political views; however a court decision last week indicates that they were wrong.
Immediately after the cancellation of the Limuru 2B meeting I filed a petition in the High Court against the four senior police officers who were directly involved in this action. In our first appearance in court the judge then directed that I also include the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner in my suit, which I did through an amendment.
Despite the security concerns associated with a private individual going against such powerful officers I had campaigned too hard for the new constitution to stand aside and watch some people pooh-pooh it so contemptuously. I needed the court to clarify whether what my rights were in regard to freedom of assembly.
On Friday May 18, 2012, exactly 30 days from the controversial cancellation, Justice Isaac Lenaola confirmed that what was done was illegal, when he ordered the Police Commissioner to provide security for the next Limuru 2B meeting that we have rescheduled to May 30, 2012.
The judge even quoted the relevant clauses in the constitution that support our rights to hold such meetings; clauses that had been in force since August 2010 when we promulgated the new constitution, but that the police had chosen to ignore.
The ruling has clearly vindicated those of us who insisted that the cancellation of the April 18, 2012 meeting was illegal. The Judge basically said that according to the Supreme Law of the land the police must provide adequate security for public meetings as long as those attending are peaceful and unarmed.
All media coverage of the last attempt to hold Limuru 2B showed unarmed peaceful Kenyans trying to get to the meeting, which means the police had no right to scuttle that meeting; in fact on that day the only people who were violent were the police themselves! It should also be noted that Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe’s excuse that the meeting was to be a re-launch of Mungiki has not featured in the entire court process so far.
However what is even more important is how this ruling affects the various political mobilization initiatives in regions like Central Kenya especially as we head into the next general election.
By confirming that the right to free assembly is not subject to state officers the court has hamstrung those used to leveraging state power against political opponents.
Now, one can publicly mobilise in areas like where I come from, where for a while it seemed ‘illegal’ to follow a different political ideology to that of Uhuru Kenyatta. The court has now opened up the field for public meetings where even the non-elite (majority) with no access to security services can hold meetings with the guarantee they will be protected by police.
I can even foresee such structures coming up to compete against elite-led parties like the recently launched TNA (The National Alliance). Clearly in today’s Kenya, right eventually triumphs over might.
Next week I will tell you how Kenyans from all walks of life, exercising their right to assemble peacefully and unarmed, will attend the Limuru 2B meeting and launch the Kenya Nationalists Forum in Kiambu County on May 30, 2012.