It is more than a year since the mere twisting of the law to suit circumstances plunged the country into an unforgettable chaos quelled only by outsiders and we seem not to have learnt a lesson from the spontaneous protests against the premature tallying of presidential election results in 2007.
The ugly events of last year are a graphic illustration of impunity and lack of regard for the rule of law that is an important ingredient in a democracy. This blatant betrayal of conscience was too profound to be forgiven and merely reminds us of the Kiswahili proverb ‘fahali wawili wakimenyana nyasi huumia’ which translates to when two bulls fight it is the grass that suffers.
National objectives, some that are so crucial and urgent, have been thwarted by tribal chauvinists and habitual lawbreakers. There is already a tug of war on the implementation of the post-election violence reform proposals known by another term as Agenda IV brokered by the international mediation team of Kofi Annan.
Now that we are in a coalition government the President must and should consult widely with partners on a number of issues, appointments included. This is not negotiable nor reversible as some MPs would like Kenyans to believe. Consultation and the National Accord must be the guiding doctrine on the coalition deliberations just as common sense guided the Serena negotiations on the National Dialogue on Peace and Reconciliation.
Whatever Kenyans see and hear from the lips of some parliamentarians during debates on national issues including the implementation of reform proposals by the National Accord are mind boggling and spine chilling. Parliamentarians argue that Kenya is a sovereign State and cannot be lectured by foreigners on governance. Such leaders who claim that the Executive is supreme have no business being in the legislative body and their constituents are objects of pity.
Legal minds bored the audience with stale tales on the legality of the eviction of squatters in the water catchment area of Mau and the reappointment of three directors of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) contrary to established procedure.
President Mwai Kibaki’s gazettement of the appointment behind Parliament and the Advisory Board was proper and calls for no objection from any quarter, one senior MP claimed.
But these MPs and public servants are right in defying authority. They are copying leaders who are in the habit of going against the laws they have enacted. The Attorney General defied a court order to pay Nyayo House torture victims token compensation until the beneficiaries threatened court action. So would Ringera be wrong in acting the way he does?
The mere fact that the Constitution empowers the President to appoint ministers without question or vetting does not entitle him to go against Parliament and the Constitution. The President and his Cabinet hold those positions by virtue of being members of Parliament and therefore, they are bound by House rules and Standing Orders.
A new Constitution and other proposed reforms mean an end to impunity, lawlessness and taming of rogue politicians. No wonder the proposals are meeting stiff opposition from tribal chauvinists masquerading as future presidential candidates.
New tribal and regional alliances are emerging daily as part of a plot to divide Kenyan communities and reinforce their suspicions of each other ahead of 2012 elections. Tribal leaders are back on the drawing board in a plot on how to remain relevant come another general election in 2012.
Tribal kings in leadership cloaks together with the issue-starved familiar political figures are behind the schemes to manipulate the public on their mission to dominance and control of voters in their areas of jurisdiction.
Already there is a dress rehearsal for more of these shadow boxing and accusations doing the rounds in political rallies where Cabinet ministers appear to differ on issues as part of a plot to dupe the gullible public and control their tribal enclaves and to have a bargaining platform in future coalition arrangements.
(The author is a former cabinet minister and national leader of two major political parties, Kenya African National Union and the Liberal Democratic Party)