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The day Uhuru Kenyatta failed to get his way

By Alexander Chagema | Published Thu, September 7th 2017 at 00:00, Updated September 6th 2017 at 20:20 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta

A little shock therapy from the Supreme Court pushed Uhuru Kenyatta off track, soured his mood, and thoroughly ruffled his feathers. For someone who only a few days previously had asked Raila to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court in the election petition, it was dishonest of him not to heed his own counsel.

In the pre-August 8, 2017 period, we listened to the President and his deputy confidently tell Kenyans they would trounce the Opposition. In Turkana, Uhuru told the residents he did not need their votes to win. To the opposition-leaning chiefs in Ukambani, the President did not mince his words when he told them they would be fired once the coast was clear.

ALSO READ: The amount of money Judiciary makes from election petitions

Misplaced confidence

In western Kenya, the Uhuruto duo was upbeat about upstaging the Opposition. There was palpable confidence in the Uhuruto camp that they were on top of things. Yes, they gave the impression they had a joker card up their sleeves. Courtesy of that, the carelessness that is a constant partner of complacency and hubris was not too far behind. The joker card did not yield the desired results, hence the bitterness and undiplomatic language that we have for several days been bombarded with.

Kenyatta has lived a sheltered life and always had his way. He has never known adversity, never toiled a day in his life. It is internalised in him that things must go his way or no way at all. Once, in full view of cameras, he banged a table in frustration while addressing members of the fourth estate. Naturally, he expected the Supreme Court to rule in his favour, a repeat of 2013, except that this time round he was up against judges who, besides diligence, have a conscience and demonstrable fidelity to the rule of law. Therefore, when he blew his top, it was easy to understand his frustration.

Right on cue, self-acclaimed hustler William Ruto, he who grew up in familiarity with hardship, took up the refrain. Not to be left behind were the United Republican Party (URP) orphans Aden Duale and Kipchumba Murkomen. I have never known a more openly vindictive group of people than the trio. From wanting to sack the Auditor General, they have futilely turned their guns on the Judiciary. They are believers in the maxim 'an eye for an eye', totally oblivious of Mahatma Gandhi's admonition that adherence to such a philosophy would make the world blind.

If IEBC commissioners are to be shown the door, it is because of their culpability in the botched, and later nullified, 2017 presidential election. Why would a rational person demand that if IEBC must go, Supreme Court judges and the court's registrar must also go? What would be the legal basis for such an unfortunate call? Not even Murkomen, whom I understand is a lawyer, knows that judges enjoy security of tenure. An attack on the Judiciary is a manifestation of Executive excesses and impunity.

Mediocrity begets mediocrity and it is no wonder then that sycophancy attracts more rewards than hard work and merit in Kenya. Figuratively, we are a society that carelessly and unthinkingly employs starving hyenas to guard sheep. Having elected the hyenas in the first place, should we blame them when they exercise collective responsibility and refuse to cannibalise their ilk whenever they are called upon to do so? Jubilee's campaign pledges were mainly about rewarding loyalists, hardly about tangible development, and never about equity.

Herd mentality

The numbers that Jubilee commands in Parliament have imbued its members with a herd mentality. This raises questions on why an academic threshold has been imposed on individuals aspiring to become legislators when they cannot exercise independent thought yet they have the right to think for themselves.

ALSO READ: Wavinya files petition to challenge Mutua’s win

It has become a tradition that whenever Jubilee wants to impose anything on Kenyans, its legislators are summoned to State House for a parliamentary group gathering. Notably, it happened in December 2014 before the forced passage of the Security Laws (amendment) Bill 2014. The latest case is the meeting of Jubilee leaders that catapulted the man who Bungoma County voters rejected as their governor to the seat of Speaker of the Senate. Anybody who has read Kenneth Lusaka's opinion pieces in our national newspapers would be under no illusion that impartiality would be his guiding light.

Mr Chagema is a correspondent at The Standard. [email protected]


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