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Did crafty Wako do it again?

By | May 12th 2010


Either someone wanted to sabotage Attorney General, Amos Wako or he was back at his old tricks.

The apparent insertion of the words "national security" in the Article on limitation of rights and fundamental freedoms bodes ill for the drive for a new constitution.

Whether Wako is culpable or not, he must pay for the sins of omission and commission of those under his watch? His revision of the Bomas Draft in Kilifi, many believe led to rejection of the 2005 Proposed Constitution.

Used to controversy, Wako issued the legal notice that emasculated the opposition in the 1992 elections when he altered a sentence: not less than 21 days to read no more than 21 days.

Some of Wako’s actions like the entering of nolle prosequi in cases have been inimical to the country’s good.

Yet this was unexpected. His firm assurance that he would only insert the commas and edit for grammar now rings hollow. When the words "national security" are inserted together with a comma, there is more than meets the eye especially when in grammatical sense, the sentence reads well.

Other glaring inconsistencies are the omission of the manner and process of the appointment of the Director General of the National Intelligence Service. In the current Act, the authority is vested on the Presidency.

As such the Constitution a complete departure from the principle it has established that appointment of top level public officers ought to be by-partisan.

Take that risk

That is the Executive and the Legislature take part. The bone of contention is supposing after so much time and money has been spent on civic education on the "correct Proposed Constitution," its double is pulled from under the table with all manner of insertions? Is Wako ready to take that risk?

Assuming that the good old Wako knew something about this, history will come in handy.

When releasing his report on the findings of extra-judicial killings in February last year, UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston said the AG was the embodiment of the phenomenon of impunity in Kenya.

Impunity has been the force pressing back the progress the people need to move forward. Impunity is when an office holder uses his power to rob, intimidate, torment and even kill because he knows no one will hold him accountable.

Many feel that the Proposed Constitution is a better document than the current maligned Constitution because it is envisioned that it will address bad governance and corruption. Impunity and the free-wheeling culture of the politicians is a symptom of bad governance.

My biggest worry of course is that with such shenanigans, we are inexorably inclined to fail even when the rays signalling a new dawn can be seen.

Kenya seems ill at ease to break away from the shackles of impunity and bad governance. When will we ever get it right?

Kenya, like many other developing countries are not bad places. Far from it. They are just governed badly and flawed constitutions have been the bane of most of their problems. Long have been the struggles to change them. Actually, Wako is as old in his job as the struggle for a new constitution as he eloquently put it at the release of the Proposed Draft last week.

Mischievous typist

Were he guilty, Wako should be judged harshly like the politicians who bluster populist rhetoric, coerce and even misinform the people. The insertion demonstrates how easy leaders and those in authority get away with lies, slander, murder and tyranny.

Were it inserted by a mischievous typist it will not only mirror the impunity, but also show the deeply rooted corruption — the insidious effects of our wayward society. The feeling that you can do what you want.

Yet despite that, it is hard to imagine how desperate officials at the State Law Office tried to stretch their luck.

The writer is The Standard’s Foreign news editor

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