I burst out laughing in the wee hours of this morning (Kenyan time) over a very interesting news item.
Have you ever heard of the Bay of Bengal? Well there is a tiny rock island there called New Moore Island (kind of reminds me of of Migingo Island). India and Bangladesh have been fighting over the island for almost 30 years with no solution in site. Now suddenly the island has disappeared. Yep, vanished into thin air. The island has actually been swallowed by the sea. The water provoked by Global warming has just gradually risen and swallowed up the island.
In fact the associated press has quoted one scientist who put it very well. The man said: What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming. You can read the full article HERE.
My message to our parliamentarians still playing games with the new constitution is simple. Just continue with your side shows and very soon you may find that what you are fighting over has disappeared.
I have completely ignored what the MPs have been saying in the house. The whole lot of jokers are just playing to the gallery. So that when they finally get home at the end of the day, a youngster can say to them: “Daddy I saw you on TV, you gave a very nice speech in parliament.”
The real debate over the constitution is going on in secret meetings popping up all over the place. So serious is this phenomena that one may be forgiven for thinking that they will soon overshadow and swallow the real parliamentary proceedings. Even the final vote will be decided in secret meetings at this rate.
Let us look at the various factions.
There is the the Mombasa one, which incidentally has got no clear leader. Because Najib Balala has been shoved aside as de facto leader he is now busy “calling for an end to these secret meetings” and ensuring that the press is capturing his sentiments. Nice touch after the long-winded speech he gave again for the benefit of the cameras in parliament yesterday (I wonder who wrote it for him). Can you imagine parliamentarians are spending cash now on the wording of their contributions in parliament? Maybe this idea of cameras in the house was not such a good one after all.
Anyway, our Mombasa guys just want to ensure that a substantial fraction of the billions that Mombasa earns for the country from tourism and the port, remains at the Coast and somehow benefits Coastal folks. I don’t blame them. Except that their secret meetings worry me. Why not meet in the open like the women faction are?
Then we have the women faction representing the long-suffering women of Kenya. Taking expert legal advice they want to ensure that women are not short-changed once again. No harm in that. My heart goes out to them.
But then we come to the really nasty chaps. There are actually 3 factions. There is the Kibaki faction that usually meets the president or his representative, not to discuss but to receive instructions on the next move. Then there is the Raila faction which usually meets to discuss but at the end Raila instructs. Then there is the Ruto/Uhuru faction which I will call the Ocampo faction for obvious reasons. They usually meet to strategize and decide what to do mainly to frustrate the Raila camp. This has led some to believe that this faction is taking instructions from the Kibaki faction or at the very least is sympathetic to it.
But all the trouble stems from the Kibaki faction. The main worry of this faction is the president losing control. The argument for a two-tier government (national and counties) because it is “cheaper” than a three tier system is just a smoke screen. Their main issue is having a senate that can impeach the president. Taking legal advice this group of conservatives has found a way to keep a powerful president in the draft constitution who will protect their interests after Kibaki is gone. That means covering up their tracks as well. This legal advice has told them, quite rightly that the Senate could easily “deal with a president” and thus frustrate their plans. What really terrifies them is that despite their fight for more counties, it is clear that the most influential regions in the Senate will be the Rift Valley and Western Kenya, by sheer numbers. These are the guys who have thrown a spanner in the works when it looked like we were home and dry for a new constitution. The Daily Nation reported that the march to a new constitution is unstoppable and that parliament cannot stop it. However the Kibaki faction may stall the process indefinitely simply by ensuring that parliament keeps sending back the draft to the COE. The same parliament has the power to pass another law canceling or amending the act that is currently driving the process, or so the Kibaki faction believes.
The Raila faction wants a smooth transition to the new constitution with no major decisison being made without Raila’s nod. And all loopholes sealed for Raila to win the next general elections without any fiddling with votes. But there are other priorities that have suddenly taken centre stage. Like dealing with William Ruto and teaching him the political lesson of his life. As to whether they will be able to achieve this, we just have to wait and see. I think events will overtake things and Ruto will soon be on his way to Europe for an indefinite stay, although the Kibaki faction has assured him it will not happen.
Keep fighting folks, the ship called Kenya is already creaking and almost bursting at the seams over years of impunity and injustice. It will only take a very small spark and this thing will fall apart into the sea and what the kingpins have been fighting for will no longer exist. Just like that island in the Bay of Bengal. Very sad.
Meanwhile Kenyans are busy shouting themselves hoarse telling the MPs to leave the draft alone because it reflects the wishes of the Kenyan people. Methinks it is like shouting at a hungry lion feeding on a juicy antelope to leave the meat for a hungrier leopard.
P.S. I have not agreed with Phil for a very long time. But I can’t help but agree with him when he says that it is always ODM compromising and giving ground to PNU over the draft constitution. The PNU strategy thus far has always been to create “small fires” and then pretend to compromise over them in exchange for gaining advantage over a major issue they wanted to push forward. I don’t like people who think they are too smart.
A laptop for Kshs 3,500? See Kumekucha classifieds today