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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It was a high-breed system that got us into the mess

I have been very pleasantly surprised.

My faith in miracles happening in the land called Kenya has been rekindled.

This has happened as I have watched in utter amazement at the unfolding events in Naivasha where the parliamentary select committee on the constitution has been building consensus over the draft constitution.

Still it is too early to pop the champagne yet. Just watch carefully the politicians who spring up controversy over parts already agreed on. The truth is that there is a small clique of politicians who are very determined that Kenya will NEVER have a new constitution. Their motive is simple. They will be completely unable to operate under a new constitution. They can only thrive and prosper under the current mess.

Which brings me to some words and phrases from Naivasha that I just loved. These words made me want to kiss such known crooks like Ababu Namwamba. I am talking about phrases like “pure presidential system” and “leadership that is accountable.”

Those two phrases ran very deep.

Firstly many Kenyans are not aware of it, but our current system is a high breed system picking from both the Westminster and US models. Is it any wonder that we ended up in such a mess? And the horror of it all is that we were going to jump from the frying pan into the fire proper with another high breed system (eti prime minister and president. My foot!!!). That is why the words “pure presidential system” was music to my ears. Wouldn’t you get nervous when somebody who has not learnt how to use a wheel )or a loaded gun for that matter) properly started attempting to modify it?

Usually pure systems already have inbuilt checks and balances. In a pure presidential system the powers of the president are checked by an independent judiciary and independent legislature. In fact these three key arms of government check each other by remaining independent of each other. Remember I said that I am great believer in keeping stuff simple, I always avoid the temptation to complicate things so as to show off just how much I know about a particular subject (a very common disease in Kenya).

And while every Kenyan is repeating the mantra that has been picked from a certain political party (down with an imperial presidency) we need to pause and think a little more about this imperial presidency thing. What we badly need in Kenya right now is a strong presidency able to get things done. And this brings me to the next phrase that got me all excited. And that is “accountable leadership.” Surely Kenyans do not expect to create a weak presidency and then hold it accountable. It just doesn’t work folks.

We do not need to fear the office of the president in a new constitution as long as we have a strong and independent legislature and judiciary.

I am aware of all the brilliant arguments in favour of a highbreed system with a two-pronged executive. This would have been perfect for a developed nation like South Africa. But not for Kenya where we have hardly scratched the surface of our enormous potential.

I never thought I would ever write the words I am ending this post with… but here I go.

Kudos PSC. You are doing Kenya proud. Finish what you started and Kenya will forever remember you.

Why is your blood boiling Kenyan?


Phil said...


You need to familiarize yourself with the Kenya Constitution Amendment Act of 2008 to understand that the PSC is currently not just operating outside its legal mandate, but also making mockery of the intelligence of Kenyans by grossly bastardizing the revised harmonised draft which was brought forward after thorough research.

In fact, I just hope the CoE will take control of the process - as the law allows it - and steer this process to its logical end, before WE, the Kenyan people, vote to accept or reject the final draft at a referendum.

Did you see the PSC try unsuccessfully to summon the boundaries commission, even as Kibaki continues to create illegal districts (read constituencies)?

How come the PNU has shifted its position from what it originally presented to the CoE when the draft was first released?

Has the PSC retained the re-call clause for MPs?

We shall see, wacha wamalize hiyo kazi.

Anonymous said...

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Phil said...

And Chris,

the hybrid system was FORCED upon us following massive theft of votes by the PNU side in 2007.

what has messed this country is the fact that Mboya - yes Chris , Tom Mboya - systematically changed the lancaster house consitution so as to reward the then president kenyatta what is known as the imperial presidency. That is a piece of history we cannot forget.

At least the NARA / AGENDA4 is what has FORCED reforms that Kibaki has been evading since 2003. Without the NARA, Kenyans would by now have still carrying the heavy load of the imperial presidency.

Mwarang'ethe said...

As usual, Mwarang'ethe will stick with land where the beef is.

We are now learning that the PSC has changed the land proposals.

Among others, we are informed that:

- All references to community land are also said to have been removed from the draft.

- “The natural resources in any region, irrespective of any system of devolution, should vest with the national government and all taxation matters shall rest with the Central Government,” a PNU MP said.

NB: Take notice of the words natural resources and taxation will be with the central govt.

Here lies the great michief. But, we shall comment fully once we see the final draft.

deroo said...


Ukipata tumia, ukikosa jutia!

deroo said...

anon @1:46, you are at the wrong place. trot please!

Anonymous said...

LAND,LAND and Agenda four

dont rush to praise this committee.

The PSC has been criticised for removing the National Land Commission from the draft constitution.

The stakeholders said they will write to President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, MPs and chief mediator Kofi Annan to protest the PSC move.

“The deletion of some of the clauses in the land chapter of the revised harmonised draft constitution will perpetuate political interference, bureaucracy, corruption and excesses currently seen in land administration and management,” they said.

They accused PSC members of sounding a death knell to land reforms and failing to appreciate “the emotive nature of land and its ability to create social tension if not well administered and managed.”

They said Kenyans want reforms and that vested interests of few should not derail it.

The PSC, which has since agreed on a presidential system of government, has further been criticised for deleting parts of Bill of Rights, the Gender Commission and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights from the draft.

The land activists said the PSC has not mandate to mutilate the draft and that they were only supposed to harmonise contentious issues.

They said the size of the constitution depends on circumstances of every country.

“We cannot allow some yesterday grabbers to be judges of this matter. The PSC cannot pretend to be demigods to go and do what they are doing. If we allow a presidential system without checks, people will grab everything including cemeteries. If NLC is not in constitution land grabbing will continue forever,” Mr Odenda said.

Ms Abisai said Kenyans should not forget too fast where they were coming from as land is part of Agenda IV to ensure equity, fight corruption and end conflicts.

She said the right of women to own property and land is part of the envisaged reforms.

Mr Makathimo said it is wrong for PSC to replicate the Lancaster Constitution at time when Kenyans were yearning for reforms.

Mr Makathimo questioned where MPs and the numerous land policies were in last 47 years when the country’s roads, forests, public land and cemeteries were grabbed.

JEFF said...


I think it is too early to get excited. I said before that the way the executive chapter was dispensed with 'easily' it was suspect.

For once i agree with Phil (although he is yet to weigh in on ODM's sudden change of heart from parliamentary to 'pure' presidential system).

I am not familiar with the legal aspects but to a layman's view they seem to have gone too far. How can they explain touching on matters that are not contentious? Is it to justify extending their stay in Naivasha at our expense? Or is it to continue with 'horse-trading'?

It is now clear that the PSC will not live up to Kenyans' high expectations. We are forgetting that these are Kenyan politicians. They love only themselves, they represent only themselves, their interests and those of their 'gods'.

You can easily discern that once they gave themselves power (executive, parliament, then judiciary), they are now focusing on how to continue lording it over us. They are bent on removing any clauses that results in gains accruing to the rest of us.

Land. Human rights. Accountable leadership. Devolution. They know that these are core to the empowerment of so called Wanjiku.

I am convinced that, until proven otherwise, no Kenyan politician is comfortable with an empowered citizen. They will tinker with such provisions until we get a vague document. We will be back to square one. Impunity.

Vikii said...


First of all, I join Chris in congratulating the Abdikadir team for a job well done especially for putting it clearly that anyone who dreams of governing Kenya must seek that mandate from the Kenyan people. To those fellows attempting to lecture us on how extra-jurisdictional the PSC’s venturing into areas not identified by the CoE as ‘contentious’, I ask ; How come you did not raise a finger when the same CoE chose to stick with a hybrid system (Chris calls it ‘high breed’, I call it a Parliamentary system) even after acknowledging that the Kenyan people had loudly rejected that proposal during the thirty day public debate?

To Phil I say this; just a couple weeks ago you told us how the draft was going to pass “as is”. What this means is that your thinly-veiled threat to reject the draft at the referendum should be treated with the contempt it deserves. It should be laughed at. Loudly. It is this kind of hubris that we are all too familiar with. Go ahead and get the numbers if you can. Further, to allege that the hybrid system was imposed on you as a result of ‘some stolen votes’, did you not say just over a week ago that the very minimum you (and your delusional party) would accept is a hybrid system? So were any votes stolen last week? Own up, accept the fact that you are on the wrong side of history or just live with it.

The act mandates the Parliamentary Select Committee on constitutional review to not only iron out the contentious issues but also “deliberate and build consensus on the draft”. Now my dictionary defines the verb ‘deliberate’ as this; “To consult with another or others in a process of reaching a decision”. This is not just semantics but a clear authority given to the PSC to undertake a reasonable consensus-based editing of the draft . Of course you have the right to disagree.

On the summoning of the IIBRC, there is nothing outrageous about the constitution fixing the number of constituencies. The delimitation role that the Ligale commission is doing was previously being done by the Electoral Commission of Kenya which just like the Interim Independent Boundaries Review commission was established by an act of Parliament. Now the existing constitution has explicitly stated that constituencies will neither be fewer than 188 nor more than 210. So in the same spirit, the PSC was seeking to put that guiding range in the new constitution which the Ligale Commission was to use in their boundary review. It’s nothing new.

Anonymous said...

As some people like mutahi ngunyi and macharia gaitho have said, I think we still need the pm post, while retaining prezo as head of state and gava. Add vp and 2 dpms. Our ethnic/regional politics require these posts for there to be peace. Jobs (including contracts) in the public sector will continue to be dominated by those in gava. I believe this is the major reason odm fought a war and got into gava. It is good to have a constitution that satisfies our unique situation, instead of just complying with some text book theories.

Phil said...

Blogger JEFF said...
For once i agree with Phil (although he is yet to weigh in on ODM's sudden change of heart from parliamentary to 'pure' presidential system).

Blogger Vikii said......
To Phil I say this; just a couple weeks ago you told us how the draft was going to pass “as is”. What this means is that your thinly-veiled threat to reject the draft at the referendum should be treated with the contempt it deserves.


I am aware some people on this platform are PNU moles anxiously waiting for me to spill the beans on what ODM's thinking is at the PNU retreat is in Naivasha. Thats not happening guys.

I must say that I like the way RAO has steered clear of this debate; it leaves the likes of Kalonzo floating in the air like a butterfly not knowing what to say. Look at them scratching their heads that ODM 'has accepted a presidential system'.... there's more surprises coming because whatever tricks the PNU tries, Kenya must get a new and acceptable constitution.

As far as I am aware, no written and signed memoranda has been issued by the PSC and as such, I am treating all the stories we are reading in the media as hearsay.

Miguna - who is in Naivasha as part of ODM's technical team - just informed us that there has not been any 'deal' and that the parties are still discussing the hybrid, the parliamentary and the presidential systems, amongst other things.

What's more; it should be understood that consensus does not merely mean that if the majority of the PSC members have agreed then all Kenyans have agreed.

Like I said before, it is premature to debate this thing. The PSC retreat is a long way off to Kenyans adopting a new constitution.

Vikii said...

Your reliance on Canadians on what the PSC is or is not doing exposes you as the ignorant fellow you are. Hizo ni siasa za Nyatanga, my brother. Si we meet in town I buy you some pork? I can offer you more classified info than that foreigner working in Kenya ilegally.

Phil said...

Blogger Vikii said...

Your reliance on Canadians on what the PSC is or is not doing exposes you as the ignorant fellow you are. Hizo ni siasa za Nyatanga, my brother. Si we meet in town I buy you some pork? I can offer you more classified info than that foreigner working in Kenya ilegally.

I'd rather rely on Canadians than pay attention to people like Jamleck Kamau.

The best pork fried in town - hapo Wilson Airport just ask anyone. Kuja mapema sato drinks on me.

Anonymous said...

Bad news.

Rao has been admitted at a Nairobi hospital after crying non-stop for 48 hours after realizing the PSC deal has finished him politically.
I wish him quick recovery.

Mwarang'ethe said...

Vikii said...
Your reliance on Canadians on what the PSC is or is not doing exposes you as the ignorant fellow you are. Hizo ni siasa za Nyatanga, my brother. Si we meet in town I buy you some pork? I can offer you more classified info than that foreigner working in Kenya ilegally.

1/26/10 7:18 AM


Bwana Vikii, hata haya hamna nyinyi. But what do you expect of Pharisees.

In the last elections, didn't Kenyans stay awake to "see" how their "son" was doing?

Furthermore, didn't Kibaki, "your guy," declare a holiday to honour Obama as a "Kenyan son" for winning the USA presidency?

Yes, never mind that Obama is nothing but an American, but, you find him more Kenya than Miguna. People with peculiar behaviours.

Anonymous said...

This vikii thing should be ignored. A waste of time it is. On what platform can he call MM a canadian. Someone who was forced to exile for fighting for the same freedom he now enjoys.Does he know the meaning of the word "struggle" Listen, for the same, some use guns ,some their identity, others their votes, others words while some choose silence. But so long as their cause is just all deserve respect.

Anonymous said...

How can someone who is not an MP be the leader of the parliament? How will the MPs summon him to explain his misbehaviour?

We have created another monster called executive president.

deroo said...

Ati Hybrid System...Ati Parliamentary System since the 2005 referendum...Giving power to Parliament...Ceremonial President...We have heard enough of that. Now, it has been done and washed down.

Okay, oppose the new Constitution. Marshall your support across the country and reject it. Again!

Ati Raila has not spoken about it. Who was speaking about the constitution in an ODM jaunt at the weekend??? Kalonzo or Kibaki. Shafted!!!

Just learn to live with it. Now, it is a PNU retreat?? Bad losers.

JEFF said...


You will notice that in the recent past, the debate here has tended to avoid discussions on personalities and concentrated on the issues. But now that you mention RAO, I wonder whether every debate must revolve around him.

You need to give the guy a break sometimes. We know that there are various factors working against him, and i cant get it when you imply that he still has some cards under the table. Ati PSC are still debating the executive chapter? This is hard to believe as they seem to be in a hurry to dispense with the other chapters.

So, is he still for the executive PM position? This would be a bit out of place since it was an ODM person who proposed the pure presidential system. If he has actually changed his mind then you should be heaping praises on Ruto for ensuring that his new position carried the day. When you say it is a PNU retreat, i also dont get it. Has Orengo, Shebesh, Kosgey, etc defected to PNU? ODM top strategist, Miguna Miguna, is also there. Please give us also a break!

What other cards? It is evident that he has lost grip on the ODM card. We are still waiting for the second tsunami wave to sweep 'takataka' into the ocean. When will this happen?

Of late, he has tried to display the nationalist card. He has toned down his activism and resolved to engage in some work. Mau is definitely a plus. Am told he is desperately trying get Central to his side. Which is ok. However, beyond the nationalist image hangs the PEV shadow, which am not sure how he intends to wriggle himself out of. Even some ODM MPs have implied they were carrying out his orders.

This is the picture of a man who has lost his grip on the steering wheel.

Anonymous said...

The author of kabila adui and tribal animosity in Kenya is slowly beginining to realize his dream of selling mandazis in Kibera is not just a mirage. It is becoming REAL every single day as ODM ship continues to sink deeper and deeper. Oh how sweet!

Phil's Mistress

Anonymous said...

they call him a political genius..
they say he is miles away ahead of his opponents...
they have elevated him to near god..
they follow him like moth attracted to light...
he is now 65, lost elections 3 times...
and engineered bloody coup and genocide in a span of 3 decades...
his followers would die for him...
ironically they die of hunger...
in one of Africa`s largest slum...
under his watch...

How vain can some Kenyans be???

Phil`s sympathiser

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