When experts lack expertise

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I am flabbergasted. Nay, I actually feel disappointed.

You see, last year, the country applauded when Parliament formed a nine-member committee to make a Constitution that would work for Kenya in posterity.

That team was aptly called, the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review. It even comprises people who have vast experience on constitution-making from other countries.

Before I explain my frustration, let me first acknowledge that the Nzamba Kitonga team has actually met its deadlines twice now, and also managed to water down a potentially damaging leak of a break within its ranks.

But I am disappointed that the team seems not to have injected its “expertise” into this process. By “harmonising” the previous drafts, one would have expected Senior Counsel Kitonga and his fellow “experts” to actually solve the puzzles that led to acrimony in the first place. For instance, the issue of an appropriate system of government has always been the most contentious in this process. In fact, we could safely say that it is the reason Kenya has not adopted a new Constitution thus far.

My expectation (and I stand to be corrected) was that the committee of local and international “experts” would scrutinise this issue with a fine-tooth comb and present a justifiable solution to the country. Therefore, the Harmonised Draft Constitution should have produced a proposal that leaves no ambiguity and which is accompanied by proper justification from the experts.

But alas, our experts did not do that. They simply opted for a middle ground and gave Kenyans a hodgepodge of the two contentious systems, thereby inviting even more acrimony from Kenyans. Asked why they were proposing a “hybrid” system, the CoE explained that Kenyans seem to be “divided right down the middle” and they were therefore advocating a middle ground.

So where, pray, is their expertise on this? Somebody please explain to me why we had to recruit reputable lawyers into this committee instead of reputable peace makers. If all we wanted from CoE was peace building, then shouldn’t we have picked Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat, Lazarus Sumbeiywo, and General Opande?

I feel let down because in my mind, we were finally entrusting the future of Kenya to a team of trustworthy, experienced “experts” to read through our confusion and present learned solutions.

As it stands, the CoE has simply taken the confusion from Bomas, Kilifi and all other parts of Kenya and is now passing further confusion to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review and political parties.

Dear “experts”, if this deadlock was to be resolved by politicians, then we would never have redirected limited public money from feeding our starving brethren to finance your work now, would we?

We shouldn’t be seeking consensus at this point of the process, we should instead be debating a draft constitution based on arguments put forth by Nzamba Kitonga and his Committee of Experts.

Short of that, then this committee either got the brief wrong, or was simply incompetent. They are not experts!

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  • msema kweli

    I agree Laura, Kenyans should start acting. It begins with you(and me). Lets act by stopping to give bribes, to speak out against ills.

  • Lawrence Njenga- Limuru

    Laura…nice feature on your website. Anyway my point is simple. Kenyans are looking at Ruto now as a Hero. Like Artur is a BAD GUY but who wouldn’t want his autograph? Kenyan voters are everything their politicians are.

  • Githinji

    The Kenya we want is one without corruption but i don’t see and end it. We have tried to be united against it, remember 2002 when Kibaki become President,but it fought back hard and won. Guys as young as 20 are now seriously discussing ways to get to parliament and government so as to get involved in highly corruption ie Trition after all once we defraud billions all we need to do is by some MPs and get an expensive lawyer.It’s a small sacrifice for the billions.

  • Shikuku – USA

    How i wish more and more Kenyans got themselves engaged in the affairs of our great nation. Rally one another against relentless impunity by our leaders.
    Our leaders have lost the sense of being responsible to their employers thus continue to act recklessly in parliament (censure motion), they taint the image of our nations integrity. I dread reading news from Kenya everyday because they scream “something is not right again” and the worst is yet to come. Kenyans lets get involved in pragmatic political decisions of our nation right from our dinner tables. Lets resolve to build a better Nation on the principles of democracy. It can be done. WE CAN DO IT! I believe.

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