This week is crucial for the country Kenya. A decision will be made at the end of the hearing of an application by the people of Kenya to the Judiciary about BBI and the Constitutional Amendment Bill. This bill was meant to unite the country before 2022 General Election but it seems the bad and darker forces derailed it at the initial stages. Whichever outcome emerges it will leave a deep wound on Kenya’s political landscape.
I have quoted the Bible to this end so that I am remembered that as a peace lover, I made my stand. I wanted to make my point home in earnest. Jesus in his final days on earth said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and your children.” That’s confusing enough, but then Jesus goes on to say, “Blessed are the childless women” that can be found in LUKE 23:28. (Let Kenyans know this).
The Judiciary that has injected the stalemate into a SERIOUS matter of national interest is Kenyan and the Judges are Kenyans. The Executive that has tried to bring the BBI Bill before 2022 election is also Kenyan. The Legislature that passed the bill is Kenyan. The 4 million Citizens of Kenya who signed the change in the Constitution were Kenyans and are still Kenyans.
So let the truth be said that whatever happens from the Judiciary all Kenyans will be affected. They should cry for themselves because we as foreigners and observers can do nothing beyond what we have advocated for through a good BBI and Handshake. We had wanted Peace and to create a peaceful situation for Kenya in 2022 and beyond. We still do.
I want to state here candidly that times like these one needs courage to tell Kenyans that if they miss BBI and fail to amend the Constitution, they might not have a peaceful election. Most of us who want a united and peaceful Kenya have made our positions known. I might be a lone ranger and not Kenyan but as an African I have a responsibility to express my misgivings that will surround the rejection of BBI.
I have no regrets for standing with the 4 million Kenyans who signed for the amendment. I have stood on the right side of history by supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga on the redemption strategy in Kenya and Africa at large. Since I can’t put my views in court I have done so here.
I must make it clear and factual that since the collapse of ICC cases in 2015, I have advocated for reconciliation. I have said and continued to say on TV that Kenya needs a healing process that will curtail future violence before, during and after every election.
As said above, the Judiciary will this week start hearing a case in which a good constitutional amendment will be scrutinized by 7 Appeal Judges after 4 million Kenyans appended signatures to change their ways of life. The constitution is not static it is dynamic.
Whatever the outcome of the Appeal, my observation as a global African citizen remains that the matter should have not gone that route. I maintain the Judiciary has captured the entire systems of Governance in Kenya. I am not bound by any Kenyan regulations not to comment and as a Commonwealth citizen. I still maintain that I will be affected if violence erupted in 2022 because of bad elections that will be disputed by volatile contestants.
I studied conflict and its resolution and I am one among many who believes that BBI and the handshake were the best words I have heard in Kenya and Africa in the last 10 years. The last four years have been momentous in Kenya’s political landscape. The handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga has defined and dominated the biggest percentage of political space. The handshake was and is premised on the philosophy of inclusiveness, unity of the country, fair free and credible elections, national stability and shared prosperity.
After the 2007 chaotic elections which placed Kenya on the brink of a precipice, the 2013 contested election results and the 2017 election which was nullified by the Supreme Court leading to a re-run, something had to be done. To break the cycle of violence, stabilize the economy and create a sense of collective nationhood, a redesign of things became an imperative.
The duty of reclaiming the country fall squarely on the shoulders of President Uhuru Kenyatta. It was and remains a sacred undertaking which the president embraced with unparalleled patriotism. The magnanimity of embracing Raila Odinga, his perennial bitter opponent was of unprecedented cathartic value to the nation.
The gesture served to create one nation where winners and losers found themselves in one patriotic embrace. In order to eternally entomb that spirit of oneness and stability in the country’s politics, it was found necessary to include the spiritual values of the handshake in the constitution. Thence began the process of consulting and seeking citizens’ views which culminated in the BBI document.
However, all along there were forces working behind the scenes to ensure the outcome does not see the light of day. Immediately after the handshake, powerful forces against the President expressed their opposition to the unity endeavor. Out of sheer political jealousy, this group misinterpreted the truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as sabotage to their ambitions.
This group felt that Raila was coming to usurp power and positions. Their personal ambitions blinded them against the bigger picture of the Head of State who wanted unity of purpose. The President had manifested to both national and international audiences about the handshake.
It is true that an internal Jubilee government rebellion started and affected all three institutions of Government. In order to deliver his promises to the nation President Uhuru Kenyatta was forced to effect minor changes at the bureaucratic levels.
This was necessitated by the need for a cohesive government, coherent espousal of policy and timely implementation of government agenda. In that regard, the government of has tried and delivered more in his second term than the first one despite the challenges of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The country is now a construction site. The unprecedented development in all sectors of the economy. In every part of Kenya, there are activities that the next government after Uhuru Kenyatta’s will complete.
In the midst of it all, there’s one thing many people have failed to see and appreciate. The magnanimity of the President in embracing and working with the opposition leader despite the fact that the President’s party has the numbers to push any legislation in both houses of Parliament as well as county assemblies.
The President’s perseverance and spirit of accommodation in the face of rebellion and sabotage from within his own government even when the President can marshall numbers to take serious decisions is what has baffled many.
As the President steers the country forward, a section of his government has on the other hand conducted the longest Presidential campaign in Kenya’s history. The problem is that this group has been campaigning against itself. The other problem is that this campaign has been 90% concentrated in Mt. Kenya region. When one aspires to lead a nation, where do you get the idea that one region is more important than other parts of the country?
But there’s one thing the citizens of Kenya need to realize. Campaign time is not yet here. Sure as the night gives way to daylight, other leaders and coalitions will emerge at the opportune time. It will be a Battle Royale. The President has been mature despite the insults and chicanery by this group.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cards are well guarded. The political gravitas of President Kenyatta and Raila can be dismissed only by political toddlers. The Legacy Trend has for the past 4 years stood every morning, night, writing in defence of the President’s achievements and protecting the legacy. Those who have read most of the works will indeed agree that we have advocated for a redemption strategy based on the 9 points that were proposed by the handshake partners.
Some of us have written a plethora of material on this subject of unity of purpose and legacy in Kenya. We wish Kenyans all the best as they await the hearing and subsequent ruling on the matter. At the end, President Uhuru Kenyatta wants to leave a country in safe hands of leaders who think about unity and not violence.
Dr. David Matsanga, founder and moderator of The Legacy Trend.