BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO
I cringe and shudder when a former President whose regime was compounded with injustices like detention without trial, tribal clashes, political assassinations, corruption and many other vices will waste his retirement time to talk about bloodshed when the country is gearing for a new Constitution that will pave the way for a better Kenya.
We don’t want to be reminded of bloodshed when the nation is reeling from the post election violence where thousands of innocent lives were lost through senseless killings in 2008. The former President must stop holding the Bible on one hand and a gun on the other.
Does Daniel arap Moi value human life when Dr Ouko and Bishop Muge were killed in cold blood on his watch, leave a lone the tribal clashes in the Rift Valley during the 1990s? Nobody heard of Moi when Kenyans were killing each other during the post election violence in 2008.
He has a democratic right to take a position on the new Constitution but he must be cautious with his statements that may spark animosity amongst Kenyans. He is from a region which was the epicentre of the post election violence and where majority of its leaders are opposed to the new Constitution which will be subjected to a referendum in August.
Wasting time to criticise the positive steps the country is making when he squandered 24 years doing nothing, Moi should borrow a leaf from former Presidents Benjamin Mkapa who mediated the peace we enjoy currently after the post election violence. He should emulate Nelson Mandela who has continued to be a role model globally and Billy Clinton whose philanthropic work has created a positive impact to disadvantaged people in the World.
Moi should thank God that our systems may never indict him for crimes against humanity especially on detention without trial and the tribal clashes of the 1990s.
The Country has moved forward, after his dictatorial regime. Despite the post election violence 29 months ago, there are no political detainees in our jails and Kenyans enjoy free speech that Moi is misusing to talk about bloodshed. Unlike his regime, today government officials exercise a lot of dissent where they speak freely without fear for victimisation.
It’s sad that the Church that fought Moi’s repressive regime has joined him to retain the status quo by wanting to deny Kenyans a new Constitution. They need to understand that Moi is not against the new law due to his love for Kenya but to safeguard his interests and that of his family. The checks and balances enshrined in the new Constitution have given him butterflies as it will question impropriate acquisition of public properties like land.
Politicians like Cyrus Jirongo, William Ruto, and Isaac Ruto, now teaming up with Moi are purely seeking selfishness ends. They have a negative record from the first multiparty elections when they used dubious means to sneak Moi back to power.
Why are they raising eyebrows when the coalition government is using State resources to give Kenyans a new Constitution? While being Moi’s political students, the trio under the banner of YK92 used State resources to perpetuate a repressive regime and no matter how much money their mentor will inject into the “No” bandwagon, Kenyans will not buy their political trickery and hypocrisy.
Moi has a right to air his views in the current debate but we can’t bank on him to give us direction on constitution making. At least, we are on the path to realising what he failed to achieve in his 24-year reign. He should go slowly on matters of governance while in retirement.
Why can’t he engage in domestic philanthropy using the hefty riches he acquired while President as it will benefit many Kenyan people?
We admire the way the former President handed power peacefully to Kibaki in 2002 and we all want him to enjoy his retirement instead of propagating lies to Kenyans about the new Constitution by evoking bloodshed.
(Joseph Lister Nyaringo submitted this blog from New Jersey, USA through our online forum. Post yours here)