Kenyans have a duty to themselves – Safina

Safina lauds the people of Kenya for remaining calm in the face of the hard economic times that were caused by the irresponsible economic policies of the coalition government in 2011.

We discourage the attitude of blaming government for everything that goes wrong but Safina believes in evidence based advocacy intended to hold government to account for everything that is the consequence of government policy.

As we commence this decisive year in the history of our nation, Safina is desirous to see a peaceful and democratic transition. This can only be possible if the nation acts responsibly and puts in place processes that respect the letter and spirit of our constitution; a constitution we won through blood and great sacrifices.

1. We take this opportunity to call on Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta to clarify his position on devolution. His foot soldiers like Hon. (Jeremiah) Kioni are calling for the scrapping of the Senate which is the anchor of devolution whereas his ministry is fronting bills that intend to control the county governments from Nairobi. Kenyans voted for the new constitution because they wanted to be liberated from Nairobi, why are Hon. Uhuru and his supporters attempting to stifle and defeat devolution?

2. We call upon President Kibaki and Prime Minister Uhuru to salvage Kenyans from the hard economic times by scrapping tax on food stuffs and basic commodities such as maize flour, wheat flour, cooking fats and sugar, Kerosene and to immediately take action on sugar companies who have caused an artificial shortage of sugar and untold economic hardship to Kenya. This is necessary in order to return these essential commodities to prices that Kenyans can afford. This is how to deal with inflation and cushion the poor who are the majority of our people.

3. We want the government to amend the elections Act (2011) to provide for a formula on how to satisfy the constitutional not more than 2/3 of one gender rule. We support the women’s movement in their stand that the next national assembly and senate will be unconstitutional if they will have more than 2/3 of one gender. The Attorney General and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission must make a very clear statement on this matter so that the National Assembly and cabinet do not plunge the nation into a crisis that we can avoid.

4. We similarly wish the Attorney General to clarify to political parties who the State officers who cannot hold positions in political parties are, since we have seen ministers elected officials of political parties including in the recent ODM elections. To this end, the AG should immediately work with the IEBC and other stakeholders to prepare a Bill on vetting of elected officials so that the corrupt and fraudulent individuals do not get their names on the ballot next year. The rule of law in this country depends very much on what the AG does and we call upon the new AG to avoid the path of ambivalence that former AG Amos Wako followed for many years that made Kenya a haven of impunity.

5. Lastly, Safina calls upon the civil society organizations, faith based organisations, political parties and the administration to form County Democracy and Accountability Committees (DACs) immediately. These committees should serve as the early warning and early response mechanism to ensure that the next general elections are free and fair. We must not rely on government alone to secure our nation because it has failed before. We must not give violence and rigging a chance in the next general election. Government should provide the legal force and funding for the DACs mechanism to work efficiently. A Bill to establish such a mechanism should be prioritised by the cabinet. We call upon Hon. Mutula Kilonzo to seriously spearhead this effort. Safina is willing to work with the ministry in this regard.

Kenyans have rights but also duties. So every Kenyan must stand for Kenya because Kenya is too important to be left to politicians alone. Happy New Year, long live Kenya.

For and on behalf of Safina.

Cyprian Nyamwamu
Secretary General, Safina

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