- NASA strategist David Ndii was arrested barely two days after his appointment to head the opposition’s People’s Assembly
- He was however released on a Sh 10,000 bond
The recent incarceration of NASA strategist David Ndii by the Government can be equated to a case of an ugly girl who breaks the mirror because she blames it for what she sees in it. Coming days after a pompous inauguration that set back the taxpayer Sh300 million, it was grossly ill-informed.
The President and by extension the Government seem to have forgotten that adherence to the basic tenets of democracy is more of a personal choice than an oathed responsibility. Vaclav Havel, in one of his many writings, noted that “the transition to democracy had brought a dazzling explosion of every imaginable human vice and that society has freed itself, but in some ways it behaves worse than when it was in chains.” It, therefore, follows that democracy will never be kind to anyone’s ego. The Government has to contend with this harsh reality and behave accordingly.
Fighting dissent in a democracy is self-defeating and a clear negation of the willingness to heal the nation. If all there is political goodwill from the Government, then embracing criticism and letting people vent their emotions ought to be rudimentary in a national healing strategy. People should be allowed to wail the bitter syringes of defeat in whichever manner and style they choose. Arresting dissidents at such a time is wrongful administration of anesthesia. You do not heal through suppression of pain, neither do you cure without listening to understand the ailment.
Going back to the oath I can arguably relate suppression of dissent to a case of wanting to swim without getting wet. You cannot claim to have been democratically elected yet you choke the Constitution of some of the most basic provisions. The Constitution’s biggest role is to give power to the people. Some schools of thought further break this down to mean “giving the people power to oppress the oppressor”. This window should not be shut. The invitation to prove that one is in charge is human, but being in a position of leadership calls for a higher responsibility and self-awareness.
The President should not depart from his good self and should always remember that civility, which he is well endowed with, has a place in political leadership. This argument is not to be mistaken in a laissez faire style of leadership. No. Shots have to be called but the execution has to be morally right, constitutionally correct, rhyme with the political climate, and be notoriously biased towards the overall objective of uniting the nation.
Defending through attacking also works but questions will always abound as to whether this is the right time to employ such measures. Conversely and appropriately, management by exception is a better style where you only take care of significant deviations, or threats for that matter. This ought to work better.