By Ndung'u Wainaina
The major institutional and systematic reforms, including governance transformation ushered in by the new Constitution, have been experiencing recorded successes but with equal measure of challenges.
On August 4, 2010, Kenyans made an unequivocal declaration to attain a just, comprehensive and lasting peace within the bounds of the law. They resolved to institutionalise open, transparent, accountable and inclusive governance based on democratic institutions.
The first step in sowing and fomenting lawlessness, violence and anarchy is disregard for the Constitution and other publicly promulgated laws of the land. Kenya transition is nascent and precarious. It has to be protected, supported and strengthened.
Creating and executing political strategy of fear, despondency and despair among people of Kenya is futile. Across the world people are risking their lives in peaceful protests to demand the opportunities, dignity and secure future that every individual citizen deserves.
Since August 27, 2010, the Office of the President has shown more appetite for sidestepping or overlooking the Constitution more than obeying it. It has equally shown little respect for institutions established under the Constitution. The political culture of individual fiat is still more preference than that of rule of law and constitutionalism.
This is a watershed moment for Kenya. Attempts at reverting back or thwarting transformation of the State will shatter the country apart with devastating effect. The Office of the President must cease its derogation of the Constitution and contempt of judicial authority to avert a crisis.
Concerns have been raised on quality of the Legislative Bills flowing from the Constitution and being enacted by Parliament hastily to meet the constitutional deadlines. Further, qualitative public participation and respect of their views in legislative enactment and institutional establishment has also been raised.
There is a strong resistance to the constitutional order by the Executive and Parliament, which are used to impunity protection, finding it difficult to accept new set of standards and expectations of governance and conduct of public affairs. This is evident by court cases challenging certain appointments and laws already done.
The Constitution ushered a greater demand for equality, justice, citizen participation on deciding public policy and deepened devolved governance. But, Government institutions have not been effective in facilitating honest leadership faithful to these constitutional requirements.
In broad strokes, the past trajectory on the road to collapse of the rule of law can be reduced to the following: The legitimacy of public institutions gradually get destroyed through undue political interference from the Executive; mechanisms met to address deficiencies in institutional independence are systematically compromised; perceived security threats are exploited by Executive to obliterate public institutions ability to operate according to the rule of law.
Individual rights are attacked and expectations that Kenyans will have anything beyond zero status gradually get eroded; and disappearance of truth as a public enterprise alongside a climate of fear leading to little organised public pressure.