In 2010 Kenya passed what has been lauded as one of the most progressive Constitutions in the world. In line with the wishes of the Kenyan people, this Constitution created 10 commissions and two independent offices.
The commissions are the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, the National Land Commission, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission, the Commission of Revenue Allocation, the Public Service Commission, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, the Teachers Service Commission and the National Police Commission. The independent offices are the Auditor General’s Office and the Controller of Budget’s office.
The Constitution then specifically mandated these commissions and independent offices with three key obligations. To protect the sovereignty of the Kenyan people, secure the observance of democratic values and principles by all state organs, and promote constitutionalism.
It is important to note that the Constitution of Kenya does not envision a situation where these commissions and independent offices do not exist. They cannot be disbanded. What the Constitution envisions is the removal of specific individuals from the commissions or offices. Such removal can be brought about when an individual is in serious violation of the constitution or any other law, is involved in gross misconduct in the performance, is physically or mentally incapacitated, is incompetent, or bankrupt.
The Constitution then explains that when the process of removing someone from these commissions or offices is through the presentation of a petition to the National Assembly explaining the grounds why such individual should be removed. This petition is then considered by Parliament and if it has merit sent to the President who then suspends the named individual and institutes a tribunal.
This is the context upon which we must consider CORD’s demand for the disbanding of the IEBC. Ironically it also means that all the other nine constitutional commissions and the two independent offices must protect the IEBC against CORD’s onslaught, in fulfilment of their third mandate of promoting constitutionalism.
CORD wants to hold a political rally at Uhuru Park on Wednesday June 1, 2016. This is the reason they cancelled their usual Monday street demonstrations.
Unfortunately the grounds have been booked for a religious prayer event.
However in line with their incapacity to envision that things do not always go their way Cord is now trying to use the power of the Nairobi Governor’s office to bully the evangelist out of Uhuru Park. The CORD leadership has tasked their man, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, to cancel the religious event and give CORD the grounds. This is despite the fact that the religious institution has already paid for the grounds and has official receipts from the Nairobi County Government.
This is not the first time CORD is doing something like this. On March 2, 2013 Cord wanted to use Uhuru Park for their final political rally. However Jubilee had already booked and paid for the grounds. CORD tasked the Mayor; their man George Aladwa; to stop cancel Jubilee’s event and give the grounds to CORD.
I want to encourage Evangelist Lucy Ngunjiri to stand against CORD’s intimidation. I also want to encourage the rest of us to consider the message Raila Odinga is sending to us about how he uses power when things are not going his way.
Raila has been leading violent street demonstrations every week because he is unhappy with the IEBC; a constitutionally established institution which he himself was instrumental in putting into office, and which he knows cannot be disbanded. He is also to use a Governor’s power to frustrate a religious institution that is standing in his way.
Now imagine him wielding the ‘Sword’ of State Power.