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Executive's show of impunity has no place in 2018 Kenya

By The Standard | Published Wed, February 7th 2018 at 00:55, Updated February 7th 2018 at 00:58 GMT +3
[Photo: Courtesy]

There is a cloud of fear that has descended on the country. What precipitated this unusual turn of events has its roots in the August 8, 2017 General Election whose presidential results were disputed by the Opposition National Super Alliance which successfully challenged it at the Supreme Court.

Our politics took an ugly turn thereafter, especially after the Opposition refused to take part in the fresh elections on October 26, 2017 crying foul that the process had been rigged in favour of the ruling Jubilee Coalition. It refuses to recognise the legitimacy of President Uhuru Kenyatta whose victory the Supreme Court upheld following a petition filed by civil society groups.

Matters came to a head two weeks ago with the Opposition’s 'swearing-in' of NASA's presidential candidate Raila Odinga as the ‘people’s president’. The Executive hit back menacingly.

The first casualty was the media, accused of complicity "in a scheme to overthrow the government". For six days, KTN News, NTV and Citizen television stations were taken off air. Citizen is still off despite the court order.

Besides the national outcry over the high-handed nature of the crackdown on those accused of administering the alleged oath and the infringement on media space, the intervention of the courts was sought. Orders were issued; that the TV stations be restored and that TJ Kajwang' the Ruaraka MP, be released immediately. The Executive chose to disobey these orders. The police then went for Miguna Miguna, the self-declared general of the outlawed National Resistance Movement. Similarly, a court order to release him on Friday was disregarded leading to a cat and mouse game over his whereabouts that lasted till late last evening.

Meanwhile, dozens of Opposition MPs have taken anticipatory bails because they are wary of arbitrary arrests for declining to surrender their firearms as ordered by the State.

All these acts reek of impunity and portray an Executive that is slowly, but surely going rogue. These deliberate efforts to reverse the clock and thwart the ongoing democratisation process should be rejected.

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By any measure, our democracy is not perfect, but six multi-party elections later, it is hard to imagine a return to the dark past of repression. Kenyans have tasted freedom and they will push back against forces hell-bent on curtailing their inalienable rights.

When the Executive disobeys court orders issued by one arm of government, the risk of a general breakdown of law and order is worrisome.

Nonetheless, Kenyans should choose civility instead of anarchy that is slowly being foisted on them by a ruling class harbouring malevolent intentions.

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