By Oscar Obonyo
Twenty-two years on, a team of politicians and lawyers that gallantly dismantled monolithic dictatorship of the time, is still struggling to get its footing.
Although everyone credits the so-called Young Turks, who teamed up with elderly politicians, for uniting a once cowed people against totalitarianism, opinion is divided as to whether they should be rewarded with leadership positions.
This debate was alive again as Kenyans marked the 22nd Saba Saba anniversary on Saturday.
Coming a couple of months before the General Election, some have advocated for the regrouping of yester-year heroes to take over the country’s leadership.
Goal already achieved
But according to former Trade Minister, Mukhisa Kituyi, the goal of the second liberation has been achieved and there is no more need for a united front by the Young Turks. Kituyi, a former member of the team, points to radical constitutional and institutional reforms as among those they set out to achieve.
Former Kamukunji MP and one of the original Forum for the Restoration of Democracy founders, George Nthenge, concurs: “All that we wanted was the freedom to express ourselves, but since we would not be allowed, we put our lives on the line and marched to multiparty politics, which I credit for the new Constitution.”
But there is the question of safeguarding the gains – a factor that has persuaded some into believing that a reform-minded politician is best placed to execute the recently ratified Constitution.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was part of the struggle, has expressed the need to protect the Constitution from getting mutilated by anti-reformers.
The presidential aspirant says Kenyans should not surrender the gains to forces of reaction and retrogression.
And, while joining the PM’s Friends of Raila (Fora) lobby group last month, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara termed the occasion a union of those with reform credentials. He said the country is most safe in the hands of those “who were part of the struggle”.