By Ndungâu Wainaina
Kenya has to build a modern democracy and industrialise to effectively address structural social inequalities, unemployment, and insecurity. However, diabolical political sycophancy and crony capitalism backed by extremely short-term inadequate policies at the political front are killing the dream and aspiration of a modern democratic state. Kenyan people must never give up.
Kenyans have to invest in building legitimate and credible institutions, enact sound legal frameworks and enforce them, and engineer ironclad political will and commitment to reforms. They have to engage in honest, robust and candid talk on the secure future Kenya ingredients.
The emerging constitutional democracy is under serious threat from amorphous political groupings populated with deity-like and well-known diehard opponents of change, accountability and transforming State structure. They have historically captured compromised and manipulated the State for maximum extraction of resources and wealth. They are not ready to let go.
These treacherous groupings pay homage to and are reservoir of the sins of the bitter past. They are poison to purposeful and meaningful constitutional democracy. They live in the past when central control and privatising State wealth was the norm. Their engineers and drivers are astute manipulators of peoplesâ struggles. The rank and file of these groupings consist of notorious public wealth plunderers and looters, land-grabbers and ardent human rights abusers. Luckily but unashamedly, they enjoy the rights and freedoms that ordinary people have fought for with huge cost while they demonised and brutalised them.
The proponents of inhumane economics and political practices are determined to preserve the old order and its legacy. Unfortunately, there is a segment of Kenyan population supporting them and complacent about defending the new constitutional order. Due to gullibility, this segment practice revisionism politics. It supports the old order in disregarding the rule of law and accountability. Only a progressive activist citizenry and truthful political leadership will exercise genuine stewardship of the new constitutional democratic state.
Regrettably, the current Parliament fails to offer the prerequisite and necessary vision and compass. The unmitigated lies and propaganda on the post-election violence justice especially International Criminal Court and confusion surrounding provide watertight evidence. The Tenth Parliament had every opportunity to establish credible and impartial local judicial mechanism. It failed! Lest we forget, the then draft constitution was tabled in Parliament prior to the 2010 referendum where MPs proposed a raft of failed selfish, and sometimes poorly thought-out, amendments. None of the 222 MPs moved an amendment with any substantive national issues.
Following parliamentary proceedings then, one could tell that save for a few like Gitobu Imanyara and Martha Karua, a large number of MPs did not appreciate the contents of the draft. Thus, even perceptions of lack of clarity on the next election date never made it to the floor of Parliament that time.
Looking at the history of the Tenth Parliament, to expect its membership to prioritise crucial national issues like ânormalisingâ the elections date is perhaps too optimistic. Most MPs are simply preoccupied with enriching themselves at the slightest opportunity, and with low popularity ratings of the institution, majority have opted to contest different seats created under the new Constitution. This is most disappointing because unlike previous Parliaments, the Tenth Parliament had a rare opportunity to shape governance standards.
Yet considering its scorecard, one sees a Parliament that has reduced governance and ethical standards to an all-time low level, and that has done precisely nothing to even masquerade at repairing the damage. Considering, for instance, that the Tenth Parliament was the first to allow âlive public broadcastsâ of its proceedings, itâs then difficult to understand why debating standards remain low and laced with trivialities and unhelpful sideshows.
Often, majority MPs engage in sideshows by asking shallow and poorly structured questions that are certainly motivated by simplistic desires to interrupt. This begs the question as to whether they use parliamentary resources effectively, for which the public pays heavily. But if you view this in light of credible of bribery revelations, then itâs not so difficult to understand why the Tenth Parliament has abandoned its public duty. It must, however, worry all of us why elected representatives who are paid excessively to the tune of more than US $ 10,000 a month (about Sh800, 000) in a country with per capita income of less than US$1000 would take bribes to do their jobs. Why has ethical standards dropped this low?
The second issue is that of MPsâ continued tax evasion. The Tenth Parliament has stopped at nothing to manipulate the Executive to shield its interests. The President eventually approved Sh2 billion to pay their tax arrears.