Do not let MPs ruin this Constitution moment


Recently I had an intense conversation with my friend and colleague Judie Kaberia. She said something that really sent chills down my back. A good majority of Kenyans think the new and improved (with power foam, herbs and all that jazz) draft constitution isn’t too shabby.

The problem is that they are interpreting it with the current Parliament in mind. What will X get… will Y be screwed? They aren’t thinking about it from a socio-legal perspective; which in turn means it may very well end up being treated as a purely political document to solidify current loyalties.

I’ve been going through the Harmonised Draft Constitution of Kenya. It is long, a little verbose and has made a startlingly good attempt at embracing new age type of existential philosophy. My impression is that it is extremely well intentioned and so politically correct I was awed by the sensitivity of wording.

I think it has been very inclusive with regards to many and varying socio-economic groups we have in Kenya and it definitely went out of its way to not offend. Some may term this as slightly cowardly but it has to be said, it is a better document than the ridiculous one they tried to force us to decide on in 2005.

I am particularly thrilled at the idea of recalling MPs. However I highly suspect the legislation parliament will enact to make this process possible will be a joke – they have to protect themselves after all.

I do so wish that it was another Parliament debating my future Constitution. Seriously speaking, does anyone trust this lot to make a sober decision on anything? This Parliament has proven over and over again that the political and personal interests of its members supersede the needs of this country and its people.

The MPs will band together, form blatantly selfish alliances and do whatever they want. That’s a scary thought especially because you know it entirely possible. I also suspect that this may be another one of this Parliament’s distractions.

Every now and then they manage to make us tunnel focus on an issue just to discover that something else is going haywire. Watch this space; there must be a new scandal coming up soon.

In the past, it is these same politicians who have made sure this process lasted 20 years. Moi’s Parliament was unwilling to facilitate change and the current Parliament is comprised of pretty much the same MPs from that era. The overall mindset of Parliament is petty, selfish, illiterate and entrenched in old school politics.

I really wish there was a way to lock Parliament out of the constitutional debate and indeed the entire process. This new draft shows a lot of promise. The last thing it needs is input from this current bunch of MPs. I am dreading the moment it goes to Parliament for amendments. We all know this Parliament is where good ideas and intentions go to die. Sigh.

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