Parliament must keep the bar high to redeem image
SEE ALSO :MPs plot how they will keep their jobsAnd back again to the fiery multi-party House that followed the repeal of that ignominious section 2A of the Constitution in 1991. That class of ‘92 saw the return of battle-hardened libertarian warriors like Jaramogi, Shikuku, Muliro, James Orengo, Koigi Wamwere and Raila Odinga as well as the arrival of a new generation of soldiers of democracy that included Gitobu Imanyara, Anyang Nyong’o, Paul Muite, Kijana Wamalwa and Martha Karua. That illustrious cast, a very rare blend of wisdom of age and exuberance of youth, gave this country the template for democratic constitutionalism that has defined the very character of our Second Republic. This full cycle closes, quite appropriately, with the dawn of a new dispensation, in which Parliament has been handed the pride of place in the shaping of the renaissance of the Motherland. Article 94 of the Constitution is emphatic that the legislative authority of the Republic, derived from the people, is vested in and exercised by Parliament. “No person or body, other than Parliament, has the power to make provision having the force of law in Kenya.” But the Constitution also expects Parliament to “...represents the will of the people, and exercises their sovereignty” and to “protect (this) Constitution and promote the democratic governance of the Republic”. These are weighty responsibilities and sky high expectations indeed, which pose a mega challenge to the institution of Parliament. The bar has risen to heights that would certainly have Burke nodding in approval. The people of Kenya and the Constitution have, as medievals would say, thrown the gauntlet at the feet of Parliament, which has no choice but to stand up to be counted.
SEE ALSO :IEBC to set date for Kibra mini pollAs Parliament grapples with some truly mega national challenges, like helping to resolve the monumental land question, it must rise to the challenge of crystalising the image of democratic maturity and inherent integrity of the highest imaginable standards. Rather than view public criticism as some kind of witch-hunt or inconvenient irritation, Parliament must instead grab the initiative and swiftly but effectively respond to the issues of concern — by radically transforming Parliament into a well-managed institution, with a reputation beyond reproach, as Caesar’s wife. Otherwise it will remain a puzzling contradiction for the legislature, in playing oversight over other arms of state, to point at any speck in the eyes of others while its own vision is blurred by myriad mega logs. Of Robert Green’s 48 Laws of Power, Parliament would be well advised to pay particularly keen attention to the 5th law: “So much depends on reputation - guard it with your life”, while Friedrich Nietzsche adds that “it is easier to cope with a bad conscience than with a bad reputation”. The two Houses of Parliament must maintain utmost fidelity to the rule of law and uphold, without equivocation, high tenets of integrity and decorum in the conduct of any facet of their business.
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