News from the Motherland


And I am not talking about Russia.

2 weeks or so ago, we had elections. Several things have since happened and continue to happen. The first good news is we elected a functional illiterate as the governor for Nairobi. Clap for us. In another county, the governor-elect had to resign in the last government because he failed as a cabinet secretary. But you see, here, we love failures. We can’t do better. In yet, another county, their new governor was dismissed from the cabinet following accusations of theft of public funds in the tune of billions of shillings. You can see the trend, can’t you? We reward thieves, illiterates and failures with public office. So if you are anyone of the following, come, it is possible you will win before any honest citizen. We had exemplary candidates for MP [member of parliament], MCA[Member of County Assembly] but do you know what we did, elected thieves, illiterates and failures.

There is a petition at Supreme Court contesting the declaration of the presidential results. In 2013, I wrote about this court. It didn’t inspire confidence then, it doesn’t do so now. The justices, in a fit of drunkenness with power, warned us not discuss the matter before them. How wrong they are. We cannot live the question to the judges. We have a duty, a moral duty, to have a national dialogue on the conduct of the elections. And this right is protected in the freedom of expression and opinion. We can have an opinion and express it. They should concentrate on the evidence before them and let us the hell alone. Only now, they are on notice. This quote

This fatalism, however, will not stop me from speaking the truth that supports my cause. My appearance before this Court may be a pure farce in order to give a semblance of legality to arbitrary decisions, but I am determined to wrench apart with a firm hand the infamous veil that hides so much shamelessness. It is curious: the very men who have brought me here to be judged and condemned have never heeded a single decision of this Court.

from History will absolve me, by Fidel, best captures the prevailing mood for a large section of the population. We know the court is a farce. That its ruling is most likely to be an insult to our collective intelligence, but, we still go ahead with it. The electoral body blatantly disregarded court rulings on the conduct of elections. The executive has made it a habit to be always in contempt of court. The court is in contravention of the constitution on its composition.

I am certain the justices or their minions don’t read my blog, but they should take heed of this warning

Since this trial may, as you said, be the most important trial since we achieved our national sovereignty, what I say here will perhaps be lost in the silence which the dictatorship has tried to impose on me, but posterity will often turn its eyes to what you do here. Remember that today you are judging an accused man, but that you yourselves will be judged not once, but many times, as often as these days are submitted to scrutiny in the future. What I say here will be then repeated many times, not because it comes from my lips, but because the problem of justice is eternal and the people have a deep sense of justice above and beyond the hairsplitting of jurisprudence. The people wield simple but implacable logic, in conflict with all that is absurd and contradictory.

While an individual is not on trial, the court, while being the arbitrator on the dispute, is itself on trial. Anyone who can’t see that, is for shortness of my vocabulary, is an idiot. The independence of the court is on trial. The ability of the court to set a precedent in law that can be applied elsewhere not just in Africa, but in the entire commonwealth.

Related to matters elections, John Kerry, former secretary of state put his foot in his mouth when he made pronouncements on our election. Kenyans from all walks of life have advised him to help in the investigation at home in trying to determine if the Russians were involved in the US elections. Our matters are too complex for him.

On the constitutionality of the state organs, a number of us are petitioning the courts to rule that the state is in contravention of the supreme law.

Section 81 (b) on representation of the people is categorical that

not more than two thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender

And article 3 (2) is also categorical that

Any attempt to establish a government otherwise than in compliance with this constitution is unlawful

We pay an attorney general whose work, as stated in article 156 is the legal adviser to the government. What advise is he giving the government if he can’t point out such illegalities?

The constitution establishes the office of the judiciary. Their work, among others include interpreting the law. Since these judges and magistrates are first and foremost citizens, they should be at the forefront of defending the constitution. It is, in my view, dereliction of duty, for them to sit pretty, getting fat on the money we pay them waiting for some citizen to go to court to seek determination on these illegalities, when these are apparent. I argue that they are irresponsible citizens and should all be sent home for failing to uphold and defend the constitution which they took an oath to do.

And lastly, there is a more interesting debate going on too. There is a petition, by some communities, to secede. Those who want to secede refer to themselves as the Peoples Republic of Kenya and want secession from the Central Republic of Kenya. Whether it gathers enough signatures or not, it has brought to the forefront a big debate on statehood. On what it means to be Kenyan and why anyone would want to be in Kenya.

Judges, stand up. Be counted. Don’t sleep on the job.

Watch this space.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

16 thoughts on “News from the Motherland

  1. john zande says:

    I was surprised by Kerry’s statement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. foolsmusings says:

    I think it’s the same everywhere. Some countries just hide it better through scale.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. renudepride says:

    Very interesting and it definitely shows the fragile nature of government, not just in Kenya, but throughout the world. The powers that be want to maintain their status, therefore, any legal challenges to them are futile and doomed. It’s the same everywhere, especially here in the USA now that Donald Duck has allowed himself to become known as a racist and bigoted idiot – but then, it didn’t take the Charlottesville riots for that to become common knowledge.

    Have a great weekend, my Kenyan brother! Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. emmylgant says:

    ‘Follow the money’.
    The IMF made huge loans to Kenya. and everyone gets a piece of the action. It’s soul destroying.
    I wish I could find something positive to say…
    I do think you are correct, it starts with town hall meetings, perhaps even smaller than that at first, to give it a chance to grow.
    When laws are meaningless, it is difficult to move forward peacefully, inevitably people end up demonstrating in the street, labeled ‘threat’ to peace and order, and guns come out.
    I understand your outrage my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As emmylgant wrote: “When laws are meaningless, it is difficult to move forward peacefully…” I would add that it also makes nations unstable because government loses credibility in the eyes of the public. When nations become unstable, those in power will employ increasingly authoritarian means to hold it.

    Best wishes my Kenyan brother, and thanks for keeping us informed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Thank you Bob.
      And you are right. If you look at the way our police is militarized, you’d know exactly they borrowed the rule book from the US, unfortunately. Soon they may have armored tanks, if they don’t have such already.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. basenjibrian says:

    Sad times, my eloquent Kenyan blogger.

    I do have one comment, though, which shows the depths of my cynicism. I don’t believe in such a thing, really, as “the people”. Who is this “the people”? What is the “common good”? Who defines it…is there some objective measure?

    As you noted, countries are complicated things. Heck, family clans with 50 members are complicated things. Politicians and “activists” and “rebels” who loudly proclaim they speak for “the people” are no more to be believed without question than corrupt incumbent government officials. In your country’s case, isn’t part of the issue that one tribal coalition is unhappy that another tribal coalition stole the election? Would they really do much better? Some of the most literate and educated politicians and leaders have done the most damage. Heck, it may have been a legacy degree, but George W. Bush has a degree from Yale. The leaders responsible for Vietnam were mostly Ivy League elites. Maybe the illiterate tribal chief with more common sense will do better, even if as he does what all elites do he is accused of theft?

    I am babbling. I will be quiet now. 😦

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Brian, thank you, always, for your cynicism and the questions you ask.
      For my purposes, the people refer to the masses who struggle to get by. Those directly and indirectly affected by the state system of oppression. Those who must know someone to get ahead. Those who almost have no say in how they are governed.
      Common good- access to facilities; educational, health and even public squares for socialization.
      Good question. It is not just that one tribal coalition is unhappy with another tribal coalition. It should be understood in a country of so many ethnicities, only two groups have provided the presidents in the last 50+ years of independence and this has been an avenue to exclude other groups from participation in the national arena.
      Two, these two groups represent different things for our country. The ruling coalition, led by business interests, would want to privatize everything. The other group at least, so far as I can tell, have a different take on this. They at least have indicated they want to improve the pubic sector, make it accessible to the majority and so on. SO it is not just an ethnic coalition struggle, but I’d say, an ideological one too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • basenjibrian says:

        Ah. Makes sense. I would agree with the losing coalition, while still remaining skeptical they would really come through. Horrors can be committed in the name of the common good.

        I would agree with your definition of the common good, but the devil is in the details. The neoliberals would argue that private enterprise better meets these needs. I am extremely skeptical about this, in an era in which not only the cream but much of the milk is extracted by vampire squid “financial engineers” through interest and fees and consultancies, but “socialist” approaches have their own problems in many cases as well.

        I have no answers, only complaints. 😦

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          In the last election, the supreme court committed horrors that we are still yet to heal from. And, yes, horrors get committed all the time in the name of common good. Except, the commoner is hardly ever asked for their opinion.

          Neoliberals would be wrong. If private enterprise met the needs, we would not be having this discussion. Socialist solutions have not been given an opportunity to be tested. cuba which is a good socialist experiment has been under US blockade for half a century. They have been blackmailed by the US several times over. The USSR, I think made tactical mistakes leading eventually to their collapse. I don’t think China is a socialist republic.

          It is good we keep complaining. Answers would make us complacent. And a society that stops to ask questions to improve itself is on the route to decay.

          Like

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