Kenya’s Constitution Should not be Watered down, Diluted and Weakened!

Kenya had a very good Constitution at its independence! The supreme law which was negotiated by diverse Kenyan communities and the Colonial Administration was very strong and spelt a federal system of government for the country with each region in Kenya enjoying federal autonomy. The devolved system of government was meant to prevent what Kenya’s diverse communities called domination of small communities by big ethnic communities. The devolved system of government never lasted long as the then ruling party, KANU, reverted to the centralized, unitary system of government. Also Kenya remained a de facto single-party state until Kanya’s second president initiated a process that made it a de jure single-party state. That meant that no political competition was allowed. Formation of political parties and alternative thought were not allowed. That ushered in an era of total authoritarianism in which those who were viewed dissidents were detained without trial. Anyone who voiced concern over any oppressive practices and impunity was labelled a rebel and detained without trial. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kenya’s leaders never enjoyed protection from the Democratic, Capitalist West anymore. The Western world made good governance a condition for the Kenyan leaders if they had to attract any development funding! Kenyans also started a clamour for freedom and resumption of multiparty democracy! Kenya’s second president, who had abolished political pluralism as we have indicated above, gave in to pressure and started a process that restored the same.

Many people felt that the then Kenya’s constitution had been diluted so much and could not protect democracy and freedom. A clamour for a new constitution was started which culminated in the enactment of a new supreme law in 2010. The chaos and violence of 2007/2008 which was blamed on a disputed election result actually accelerated the process to the new Constitution. It was felt that the Constitution would empower Kenyans and prevent concentration of power in one person or entity and hence keep domination by any ethnic communities of others at bay and hence prevent anarchy, violence and chaos as witnessed in the fiasco mentioned.

The Constitution was a consensus document, negotiated over a long time. It is actually a very good document and is 100% workable and interpretable by courts.

There are attempt at the moment to initiate amendment to the Constitution for some reasons. Both Kenya’s opposition and the governing party are of the view that the law needs to be amended. However, the direction and kind of amendments favoured by either group are miles apart. We are of the opinion that Kenya should not rush into amending the Constitution. The reason is clear: most of the suggestions being floated by politicians and other people will actually water down the supreme law and endanger people’s freedom, democracy, rule of law, justice and peace. Kenya’s stability will be compromised! That should not be allowed to happen. The law should be implemented steadily and judiciously so that it can protect Kenya’s freedom and sovereignty. We all know that bad history has a tendency to repeat itself. That is why we urge all Kenyans to avoid going back to the injustices, oppression, impunity and autocracy of the past and instead protect and defend the Constitution so that it can protect people’s freedom and steer Kenya to the first world status! Kenya should be governed by the rule of law and never by decree, discretion , whim and capricious actions, decisions and measures of an individual, clique of individuals or section of society! Peace must be given every iota of opportunity to take root and thrive everywhere! The current constitution should be able to take development even to the marginalized Pokot, Turkana, Samburu, Ukambani, Coast, Maasailand, Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Eastern Kenya, some parts of Central that have been marginalized in the past and Northern Kenya and elsewhere. Kenyans must consistently work hard and smart and prove to the world that when people are 100% free, they can develop their country immeasurably and achieve what true freedom does achieve! May democracy and freedom prevail!

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