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Why the people must now exercise their sovereign power directly

 Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga during a past event in Seme, Kisumu County. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The framers of the Constitution were deliberate in bestowing sovereign power on the people to exercise directly or through their democratically elected representatives.

The Constitution is among those regarded as most progressive in the world that guarantees basic human rights and gives citizens enormous powers to determine how they are to be governed.

In bestowing sovereign power on the people, the framers envisioned a situation in which the political leadership keen on maintaining the status quo resorts to subverting its core values and principles.

The national values and principles of governance are outlined in Article 10. They include patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people.

Others are human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalised; good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability; and sustainable development.

The people of Kenya donated their sovereign power to state organs and institutions such as Parliament, the Executive, the Judiciary, and county governments and assemblies, among others; expecting in exchange proper governance as the Constitution demands. Their action meant that State organs, state officers, public officers among others, are bound by the national values and principles of governance whenever they make or implement public policy decisions.

In other words, those to whom the people donated their sovereign power, must exercise it in a responsible manner that considers their well-being through the rule of law, equity and justice.

Article 131 on the Executive, for example, stipulates that the president is a symbol of national unity and who shall respect, uphold and safeguard this Constitution; safeguard the sovereignty of the Republic; promote and enhance the unity of the nation; promote respect for the diversity of the people and communities of Kenya; and ensure the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

But what do the people who delegated their sovereign power to him see instead? A president who has unlawfully  taken control Parliament, the Judiciary and resorted to ethnically skewed public service appointments. Because of this and other violations of Article 10, the people have decided to reclaim their sovereign power donated to him, to instead exercise the power directly.

They have consequently decided to embark on mass action, including civil disobedience and demonstrations, to protest the breach of the sovereignty through violation of Article 10. They are equally demanding electoral justice following the fraud characterising the August 2022 elections. The Constitution guarantees them the freedom of assembly, association and the right to picket.

Elections are one of the major ways through which the people express their sovereignty. However, in Kenya the people are yet to see electoral justice in elections in the past decades.

Elections have failed to be a true reflection of the will of the people as decreed by the Constitution. They do not uphold the principles of transparency, credibility, verifiability and accountability, among others.

The current regime lacks electoral legitimacy which is a prerequisite for the exercise of people’s sovereign power, in view of the shocking revelation by an employee of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, who detailed the fraud and manipulation of the vote tallies that characterised the 2022 elections.

The whistleblower revealed how the presidential election results were falsified before being presented to Kenyans. The revelation has greatly dented the credibility of the election.

Whenever delegated sovereign power is exercised with disregard for the rule of law, its legitimacy ceases. The Ruto regime must remember that government’s power is not absolute and it must be accountable to the people.

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