Something is NOT right. Apart from the spirited No campaign, there is something wrong. There is something that is not quite right in all this new constitution thing.
I saw George “Goldenberg” Saitoti stand up yesterday and talk passionately about how the new constitution is good for Kenya and I wondered. Mwai “Anglo leasing” Kibaki to quote a local TV station “has now removed his gloves” in battling the No camp over the new constitution.
For somebody who knows the history of all these politicians fairly well and having read a substantial part of the draft constitution, there is something that just doesn’t add up. Unless human nature has suddenly changed. Or maybe the self-preservation instinct in humans has disappeared, let alone in the super-greedy politicians of Kenya.
If the draft constitution is passed, the truth is that justice will come to Kenya and many political careers will come to an abrupt end forever. The truth is that wananchi will change into wenye nchi and within a few years Kenya as you know it today will be unrecognizable.
So would a man welcome an executioner to their home and fete them knowing very well that their necks would be on the chopping block within the hour? Quite unlikely.
So what is it that the political class knows that the rest of us don’t know?
Let me try to answer that question.
Firstly it is important to note that the chain of events starting with the post-election troubles of January 2008 have removed matters from their hands. The truth is that there has been considerable international pressure. It has been clear to the world that going to the next elections without a new constitution was just plain suicide for Kenya. And many of those nations have vast vested interests in the country. The travel bans have worked miracles and put the right pressure in the right places. Have you noticed how much Wako has changed since the Visa ban? This is certainly not the same Amos “editorial changes to the constitution” Wako of 2005.
And so the political class has had little option but to support a new constitution, at least the vast majority of them. But after consultations with their lawyers and legal experts they have come up with a strategy. It is based on the fact that it will take a minimum of five to six years to fully implement the new constitution if passed. And then parliament can always employ a few delaying tactics here and there which would drag certain changes for many more years. In any event many of the most powerful politicians in Kenya do not envisage themselves still in politics in the next 10 years. And bear in mind that a lot of crucial decisions have still been left to parliament. For instance the maximum number of acres an individual can own can be kept high enough. In any case there are still countless loopholes because a large land owner can distribute his land holdings amongst his wives and sons (and believe me some of these families are huge). You see the most important thing about any constitution is the spirit of that constitution and great damage can be done by people who do not have the interests of the country at heart. There is no constitution in the world without loopholes that any smart lawyer can take full advantage of.
And so the bad news is that saying Yes on August 4th will only be the first step and the beginning of a massive battle to free Kenyans. There is still a lot to be done if we are to see the full positive effects of the new constitution. For starters we will have to vote very wisely in the next general elections and ensure that we get fresh new faces who are ready to do serious battle with old money in Kenya. People who cannot be swayed by money and people prepared to give their lives for the motherland. Tall order indeed, do such Kenyans exist?
But the good news is that if the new constitution is passed it will be the beginning of our emancipation. Already we know for sure that the train has left the station and for better or for worse it is headed in the right direction. We’ll just have to take care of the obstacles as they come. Brace yourselves for a rough ride folks but we shall surely overcome.
What people don’t like about Dark secrets of the Kenyan presidency.