As I pen this article I am an apprehensive Kenyan – worried for my motherland and the process of attaining a new Constitution.
The admission by the Attorney General that the government printer has released two different drafts of the Proposed Constitution is the latest addition to the drama galore that has haunted the review process for the last two decades.
It is scary to say the least that unknown forces (at least according to the Attorney General) can penetrate the government printer and change a document as important as the Constitution. First, we all expected the State to ensure a smooth foul-proof process.
When Mr Wako said that powerful forces within the State were pushing him to amend the section on a Bill of Rights I got wary.
How far can those forces go to ensure that the interests of their masters are represented? Like Mr Wako told me, your guess is as good as mine!
Like many have told us lives have been lost, many injured, sacrifices made and billions in resources invested in search for a new Constitution and this process is so crucial to this country.
As we enter the final leg, we ought to avoid this kind of drama, but it is unfortunate this is not the only drama surrounding this process.
It’s school time across Kenya and all the ‘teachers’ are ready albeit with diverse objective ambitions.
The committee of experts has launched a Sh330 million civic education to educate Kenyans on the draft. By law, their responsibility is to explain to us the details of the new law and leave us to make our decision. But like a good manufacturer, the drafters are telling us to vote Yes.
Nobody knows how much the clergy led by Canon Peter Karanja and Cardinal John Njue on the No camp are spending but they too are out to “educate” you on the same draft. Their mission however is different: to show you why you should shoot down the entire document because it is fundamentally flawed. To back their resources are prayers and the pulpit from where they campaign for the rejection of the draft.
As shown last Saturday during the National prayers against the draft, the clergy have some support from Higher Education Minister William Ruto and his group.
On the other hand President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga are leading the Yes team and they are set to start their Yes campaigns at Uhuru Park this Saturday. Their greatest resource is the backing of 23 political parties. A new secretariat to drive this agenda is being constituted and you can be sure all “machinery available” will be used.
With all the theatrics, the only opportunity we have is at the referendum and that responsibility we must carry out sacredly.
I believe it is a responsibility of every Kenyan to read the Proposed Constitution – without excuses. Whatever your opinion, get your hands on the draft and comb through it (now that we know there are amendments at the government printer). It is decision time and we better make it well informed. Get out of the confusion of the Yes and No campaigners and read it for yourself.
If you are not among the lucky five million Kenyans to get the copies from the government download one for free on this website. I assure you the one on our website is the copy Mr Wako claims is authentic as passed by Parliament.
On a personal note, it is now 20 years since Kenya begun the quest for a new Constitution. The laws we have served 10 million people and we are now 40 million. Our needs surely have changed and so must the laws that govern us.
This is a process that cannot be taken lightly and no eligible Kenyan should be left out of this historical process.
I want to appeal for Kenyans to set aside deep emotions. Life is precious and we should avoid situations that could degenerate as we debate which way to vote.
I urge our Church leaders to be a source of unity and not division and be a source of knowledge for the nation as opposed to being a source of discord.
As always, my prayers are for my beloved country.