The shenanigans being played out in Parliament over the vital watchdog committees that we have entrusted to oversee the implementation of the new Constitution should be a matter of concern to all Kenyans.
When we as Kenyans promulgated the new Constitution on August 27, we agreed that it was actually a negotiated settlement between ourselves. For almost half a century, we have been a country of undeclared conflicts that is until the formal declaration of hostilities that manifested itself in the post-election violence of 2008.
When we woke up to that reality, we signed a peace accord among the 40 million Kenyans through the new Constitution. With this in mind, its implementation should be a sacred mission that should not be subjected to politics of party affiliation, ethnicity, race, economic class or creed.
Unfortunately, implementation of the new Constitution is under siege. Parliament looks determined to write the epitaph on this document that represents the collective will of Kenyans. There appears to be competition by three blind mice on who will deal the implementation process the most fatal blow.
The first blind mouse is the KPU wing of ODM. Sometimes I sulk that this KPU wing is allowed by Kenyans to get away with murder all too often. The Justice and Legal affairs committee has declared that it has no confidence in its chair, Ababu Namwamba. It is a straight forward case whereby the standing orders are clear, that if a chairman of a committee has lost support of six members, his position becomes untenable. It was not even a dispute between PNU and ODM.
Committee members were unhappy that Namwamba was running the affairs of the committee like a raged bull in a China shop, writing reports from his bedroom with zero input from members, and issuing disparaging remarks about other members in funerals.
The committee members resorted to the only weapon at their disposal, which is removing the chairman in strict adherence to the standing orders. How Kenyans have allowed the KPU wing of ODM to turn this into an alleged dispute within the context of the national accord is baffling. What the KPU wing of ODM is not telling Kenyans and the world is that they are hell bent on controlling this all-too-crucial committee.
As they would say in America, it\’s all about 2012, stupid! That is the truth that Kenyans are not being told.
Gifted at mischief, the voluble and cantankerous members of the KPU wing will now go the funerals and tell Kenyans that removal of Namwamba is an attempt to kill the new Constitution, is an act of impunity, is a scheme by non-reformers blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately for them, Kenyans are a lot wiser today and this mischief will simply not wash.
The second blind mouse in this scheme to frustrate the implementation of the new Constitution is Speaker Kenneth Marende. By transferring the work of scrutinising Bills from a permanent committee of the House, that is the Justice and Legal Affairs committee to an ad-hoc committee that is the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee, the man from Bunyore has done what he knows best, waffling, ducking and hiding. He has evaded the real issue yet again.
The \’Nyakua\’ philosophy that started when Marende took over the Chairmanship of the House Business Committee was exhibited yet again when he created a committee to advise the house on the legality of the Presidential nominations only to gag the same committee from presenting its report to the House. Now he has watched by as the Justice and Legal Affairs committee is blocked from carrying out its affairs. I am reliably informed that the committee is not being allocated an office to meet! If the new Constitution is killed at its infancy, its innocent blood will be all over Kenneth Marende\’s hands.
Unfortunately, the G7 members of Parliament in the Justice and Legal affairs committee have not been very strategic either.
Conventional wisdom has it that they have an overwhelming majority in this committee. One would understand their refusal to work under Namwamba. I would do the same in the circumstances. However, to insist on a chair of the committee from the G7 side is missing the point. It will only give the KPU wing of ODM an opportunity to create confusion and frustrate the implementation of the new Constitution.
For a party that is facing an electoral blood bath in the General Elections due in the next 14 months, the G7 members of this committee are being exceedingly charitable to KPU/ODM. If KPU/ODM agrees to replace Namwamba with Olago Aluoch as it has been reported, G7 should have no problem with this. After all, it was about Namwamba\’s juvenile delinquency, not about party politics. For this, the G7 members of the Justice and Legal affairs committee are the third blind mouse in this melodrama.
Kenyans are watching.
(The author is the spokesman of the Party of National Unity. The views expressed herein are his own)