Kenyans are heading back to Uhuru Park to be part of celebrations of the new dispensation. They will witness leaders pledge loyaltly to the country and the cameras will be rolling later this month when cabinet ministers are sworn-in afresh. But for some leaders oath of office will be something akin to treason.
As public officials, how will Ruto, Shabaan, Porghisio and other NO ministers be expected to Obey, Serve, Uphold, Respect or Defend the new constitution? Are these individuals truly fit to continue holding public offices?
After having vehemently opposed the new constitution under false pretence and that which thankfully Kenyans refused to listen to, cabinet ministers who ardently served on the NO side during the campaign find themselves in serious catch-22 situation.
The new constitution transitional clause requires that ......”On the effective date, the President and any State officer or other person who had, before the effective date, taken and subscribed an oath or affirmation of office under the former Constitution, or who is required to take and subscribe an oath or affirmation of office under this Constitution,204 shall take and subscribe the appropriate oath or affirmation under this Constitution........"
Unless the principals exercise their powers and replace them, or unless they resign on their own volition, cabinet ministers who had vehemently opposed the proposed constitution will be required to partake this new oath of office that they ......”do swear/solemnly affirm that I will at all times be faithful to the Republic of Kenya; that I will obey, respect and uphold this Constitution of Kenya and all other laws of the Republic; that I will well and truly serve the people and the Republic of Kenya.......”.
The president and prime minister will certainly enjoy watching the same opposition swear to obey and defend what they opposed. Of course 2,795,059 Kenyans who voted NO will also be watching in amazement as the leaders who asked them to oppose now pledge to defend, obey and respect the same document. Will these so called leaders have any credibility left thereafter? Actually, there is no need to sack them, let them do what is ethically the right thing to do. Those who do not agree with government that they serve, what business do they have continuing sitting in it?
Without batting and eyelid and quite shamelessly, Ruto’s concession speech was more of a threat than an admission of a crushing defeat. As one who aspires to be president, I expected Ruto to take personal responsibility for that failure as defacto leader of the NO side. Ruto ought to have apologised for misleading 2,795,059 of cast ballots astray. Instead, the fellow was chest-thumping about non-cast ballots and calling on the two sides to negotiate amendments on the new constitution. This is an affront to democracy and an insult to the intelligence of Kenya voters.
The new constitution seeks to bring magnanimity in our national politics, but listening to Ruto, one wonders why he just does not get it. In established democracies, a defeat such us one experienced by the NO side warrants resignation of presidents and their ministers. Actually, if the NARC government could have resigned and called for fresh elections after the 2005 referendum defeat, then certainly the 2007/8 post elections violence could not have happened. In 2010, the NO ministers still have the audacity to demand for negotiations after having been humiliated at the ballot box already adjudged to be free and fair. It is as if the referendum was a mere tea-party and nothing of significance. Am I the only one seeing this hypocrisy and disrespect for democracy?
If we continue to allow the elected officials in our government to violate their solemn oath of office, we disregard accountability and enhance impunity and grand corruption. By letting these scoundrels get away with this high crime, we ultimately contribute to the destruction and elimination of our supreme law, the constitution.
Given Ruto’s well publicized opposition to this very constitution, would it be morally correct for him to partake the new oath on the same constitution? Are Kenyans prepared to see the same ministers abandon their responsibilities on the front bench during the crucial implementation of the constitution and legislation of related laws?
The honourable and respectable ministers should do the right thing and voluntarily resign. It is the correct thing to do at this point.