By Ndirangu Wambugu:Son of Soil
I am now taking Head on WANJIKU! Should we change this Melancholic Kenyan constitution? The Kenyan Wanjiku has been recipe for all our disasters since her promulgation.
Remember, Wanjiku was promulgated, following the post election violence in the disputed 2007 elections, a travesty of gigantic proportion that consumed over a thousand lives and displaced hundreds of thousands, which as a matter of fact brought her necessity.
Fears for a civil war were rife and certainly the future under the old order seemed portentous.
Locally and internationally the idea for a new constitution to address the lapses within the existing constitution were warmly welcomed.
Indeed, no sooner had substantial normalcy returned in the country than the proposed new law was presented for a referendum and in august 27th 2010, the constitution was promulgated.
The law was praised world over with even president Barrack Obama describing it as progressive and certainly the way to go for other African countries.
It was described as the ultimate masterpiece; the silver bullet to our problems.
The genius in constitution, we were made to believe, was how it addressed matters national values, principles of governance, transparency & accountability, national unity, sustainable development, integrity, protection of the marginalized, social justice, equality, democracy and people participation and human rights and all that which was pretty much appealing to the ears of ‘mwananchi’.
Inclusivity for all Kenyans was guaranteed. Removal from office on those found to act contrary to provisions of leadership and integrity chapter was placed in the hands of citizens.
Some even argued the constitution was just too good to be true, an infallibility many would crave to be accused of.
5 years down the line, is the ‘irrational’ optimism over the constitution vindicated?
A constitution is only as good as its positive impacts on the ‘mwananchi’.
How better is our social, economic and political life post the promulgation?
What extent has chapter 6 guaranteed us leaders with upright integrity and unquestionable governance ethics?
How easy is the access to quality basic healthcare, justice or even essential information for example on initiatives such as uwezo, youth and women enterprise fund et cetera?
The truth is our Kenyan constitution is way overloaded as characterized by the mindless duplicity of institutions and roles.
While judicial reforms were essential, did we really have to establish a supreme court? Are the 12 constitutionally recognized commissions feasible?
Why have commissions on gender, administrative justice, human rights and integration, if anything, doesn’t all this commissions address rights?
Is corruption and abuse of office embedded in our moral fabric that we have to establish legal institutions to basically address them?
That we anticipate our leaders to exercise malfeasance of the taxpayers’ money triggering the need for Ethics and Anti-corruption commission is just sad.
To add salt to injury, all these commissions are characterized by maximum provided for number of commissioners and even worse they are full time employees who enjoy hefty salaries and allowances.
I wonder which elections and boundaries issues IEBC keeps addressing all year long, Monday to Friday,or which salaries and remunerations are reviewed by SRC all year long .
To have 416 national legislators and thousands of MCA legislating on behalf of 40 million Kenyans is ridiculous.
To have the same 40 million Kenyan divided into 47 counties each with a devolved structure of governance running parallel to that of national government head by county commissioners is utter insanity.
India with her population of 1.2 billion citizens has 29 ‘counties’ and closer home, in Nigeria at a population of 170 million it has 36 states.
Bicameral legislation, heard the term, huh? Somebody tell me what’s the utility of the senate in Kenya? Simply, Kenyans are just over-represented which translates to funds which otherwise would be spent on development vote heads going towards financing our ‘waheshimiwas’ payroll and financing their flashy lifestyles.
FYI, the very red leather seats you see in the parliament, the seats of power, are just that, seats of power!! With each having been acquired at a cost of ksh 200,000, well over and above what a Burundian member of parliament gets for the salary.