Kenyans must now revolutionise leadership

August 23, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – Renowned cleric Timothy Njoya has termed the new Constitution, which is set to be promulgated on Friday, as a gateway for the country’s reform revolution.

Rev Njoya said the new laws reflect a new dawn for the country but at the same time cautioned Kenyans to ensure they elect leaders of integrity so as not to compromise the authority of the new Constitution.

He argued that the new Constitution would only bear tangible results if Kenyans stopped accepting handouts from their leaders during election campaigns.

“People have always expected to be given khangas, beer and chang’aa to vote a certain way without looking at the values of the one giving them. A briber should be automatically disqualified; anyone going to a public meeting and offering money should be taken to court and become disqualified,” he told Capital News in an interview on Monday.

Rev Njoya also challenged Parliament to demonstrate increased commitment to the reform agenda.

“Parliament is the handyman; it is the people’s donkey which should do the work. And the Senate will check Parliament because this Constitution has checks and balances that separate powers between Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary,” he explained.

He further called upon the country’s civil societies to help Kenyans vet all those vying for leadership positions. He said counter checking leaders’ characters would prevent a repeat of the opposition and in fighting that met the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).

“Civil societies should have their own legal mechanisms for vetting and taking to court those they feel are not leaders of integrity. They (civil societies) went to bar (TJRC Chairman) Bethuel Kiplagat’s appointment after he had already been appointed and that should have happened long before his appointment,” he said.

Rev Njoya who has been a vocal advocate for a new Constitution also noted that the new laws would promote Kenyans’ human rights regardless of their economic state.

He recalled how he was on different occasions assaulted as he and other like-minded people demonstrated in search for new laws.

“I am not bitter because I strongly believe that Kenya is greater than my life. I lost my job and was sacrificed by both the state and the church but I had already sacrificed my life to the state and as we bring in this Constitution, I can say that my efforts were not in vain.”

“The August 4 ballot paid me for my works,” he said in reference to the referendum which ratified the new Constitution.

He also asked the Church to accept the new constitutional dispensation and work together with the state in implementing it. He added that it was only Kenyans who could determine their laws.

Rev Njoya was a longstanding critic of previous regimes and his stand set him on a collision path with the establishment. He has been arrested several times for his outspoken demands directed towards the government and has been even been sacked from his church position.

He, together with other politicians and activists, organised the renowned Saba Saba protests which increased pressure for change in Kenya.  Rev Njoya has always been at the forefront campaigning for a new Constitution. During this year’s referendum, he heavily criticised the church for its position and accused them of misleading Kenyans.


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