CORD should make State accountable to Kenyans
By Alexander Chagema
| October 31st 2015
NAIROBI: From my perspective, it is not the business of the Opposition to make the government succeed; that would be the surest way to committing political hara-kiri, Japanese for suicide. A good Opposition should harangue the government, make it appear to have failed in its responsibilities to the tax payer in order to make it more accountable. That could explain why Republicans in America don’t grant quarters to Democrats; always portraying President Barack Obama in negativity. It is why they have Donald Trump tramping all over the place preaching balderdash.
Anything short of that is a recipe for complacency within the narrow corridors of power. That, sadly, is the prevailing situation in Kenya. When it should have kept the government on the straight and narrow, the Opposition appeared to sulk over the 2013 electoral loss. Compounding matters, it has been swamped by the obnoxious tyranny of numbers which has unerringly led Kenya into the quagmire we find ourselves.
The application of the tyranny of numbers as a managerial tool is defeatist in much as it is neither guided by ideology, principle nor objectivity. Instead, it exposes the country to mediocrity, ridicule, dictatorship, mis-governance and risk of totalitarianism. Suffice it to say the system is dysfunctional and the government is determined to silence dissent by resorting to mischief that evokes bitter memories of the Nyati and Nyayo houses in yesteryears. That is besides the spirited, yet futile attempts to muzzle the Press.
While Kenyans would have wished the painful experiences of, among others, Kenneth Matiba, Raila Odinga and Koigi Wamwere under security forces would remain in the books of history, the recent arrest of former Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa over hate speech is reminiscent of thriller gangsterism. It bespeaks a supposedly democratic and digital government that has lost the script.
Freedom of speech, while guaranteed by the Constitution, loses meaning if it is not tempered with tolerance at the other end. In politics, and in multiparty democracies, what is good for the goose might not necessarily be good for the gander. The coinage ‘hate speech’ is seemingly being abused by the government because it has control of the instruments of violence. There is neither template nor clear, unambiguous description of what constitutes hate speech. Unless this is legally taken care of, the government will find justification for harassing Opposition leaders and anybody else that may not massage the bloated egos of those coalescing around the crown with the sole purpose of silencing them; Uganda style. So far, inflammatory statements attributed to Jubilee cheer leaders have not been classified as hate speech and despite what is in the public domain, nobody from that side is worried about spending a night in police cells.
Lately, CORD appears to have struck the right cord in discomfiting the government. There is no shortage of pecuniary impropriety in government that naturalises corruption which, today, is at an all time high. But while nobody in Jubilee has the ability to counter any Opposition offensive as effectively and disdainfully as Deputy President William Ruto, who resolutely believes if you gave Raila an inch he would take a yard, lately he seems to be labouring under the weight of belated ICC confessions by traitorous friends. That allows CORD room to maneuver and ravage the NYS project which, if well executed, would have taken the sails off CORD’s boat leaving it stranded on the high seas.
Kenya at a crossroads and the path we refused to takeIt is hard to look at Kenya today and not recall Robert Frost’s classic poem, The Road not Taken. The persona in the poem tells of two roads that “diverged in a yellow wood”.
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