Enter parliamentary dictatorship

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BY ANTHONY KAGIRI

The exit of Justice Aaron Ringera from Integrity Centre seems to have settled weeks of sibling rivalry between Parliament and the Executive.

And Parliamentarians came out smiling but not without leaving a few of them with egg smacks on their faces for making headlines as key suspects in the waiting list at the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission.

Our beloved nation is on the verge of a transformation, a time when Parliament is asserting itself as a formidable institution of power and authority and the Presidency is losing its historic dominance. The days when the Executive would make decisions and then use the August House as a rubber stamp are far gone.

Parliament will be the place to be not just for the hefty perks but also for the power the law makers will yield. Indeed the introduction of live parliamentary broadcasts gives our honorable members an opportunity to gain publicity across the country and these guys know all too well how to exploit such opportunities.

To me this is the exit of the Executive dictatorship and the entry of Parliamentary dictatorship. Whether this is good for democracy or not I leave it to you to decide, but only time will prove it. I support it because it distributes powers to our so called representatives other than leaving it on just one man.

The skeptics have argued that allowing a bunch of 200 plus men and women to have their way is dangerous for this country. One of my friends advancing this argument gave me the example of their blatant refusal to pay taxes, which they seem to have gotten away with.

But then why not look at the other side of the coin. We have had Executive dictatorship since independence and all we can count are millions of squatters while a few close to power hold onto thousands of idle acres. A few people have made away with millions of taxpayers money in scandals and left millions of us wallowing in unemployment and hunger. Senior positions have been dished out to cronies and relatives leaving out experienced and energetic Kenyans who I believe would have made more difference.

It is opposition MPs who fought hard for multipartyism. The now famous Constituency Development Fund and the Road Fuel Levy were both introduced by backbenchers. Indeed when political parties were allowed to nominate ECK Commissioners we had the free and fair elections in 2002.

Parliament did well in changing the law to be allowed to nominate members of the electoral commission and other key commissions but it does not end here.

I urge our Honorable members to take up the vetting of Ministers and the appointment of key persons such as the Chief Justice, Attorney General and the Police Commissioner. Already there is a bill fixing the number of Ministers to a maximum of 24 in waiting. In the proposal is also the requirement for one to be a degree holder and proven integrity, kudos to these guys.

The Presidency I tell you will be a ceremonial and unattractive seat and not many will want it.

As the grand coalition haggle who between the Vice President and Prime Minister is to be Chair of the House Business Committee, the Speaker has taken up the seat and is now directing ‘government’ business in the House – what irony! Indeed many ministers have stated that they are first MPs then Ministers. Many have stood in the House to oppose government policies.

As I said earlier whether this is good for democracy or not only time will tell. Being the representatives of the people I give these people the benefit of doubt. I know there could be two or three dozens of rotten eggs in there but I believe the other more than 10 dozens will bring sobriety in the August house.

(Anthony Kagiri writes on politics issues for 98.4 Capital FM)

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