Plus... Will there be peace during the referendum vote?
I have watched with interest the court battle over the Starehe parliamentary seat that ended recently with Bishop Margaret Wanjiru losing her parliamentary seat.
As usual Kenyans have a very short memory. Of all constituencies in the country none can compete with this one when it comes to the dirty tricks that were employed in 2007. Most of them were targeted at Bishop Margaret Wanjiru. You will remember that he ex-husband suddenly and unexpectedly emerged from the woodwork and caused all kinds of troubles for the brave woman candidate.
Bishop Wanjiru with former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga at her church, Njenga is in the YES camp.
But of greater interest should be what happened after the election winner was announced and everybody forgot about the ballot boxes. Sources assure me that there was massive ballot box stuffing which is the main evidence that was used to enable Maina Kamanda win his petition against Ms Wanjiru. How the court would recognize votes from ballot boxes that had clearly been tampered with is beyond me. But then that is Kenya under the current constitution for you.
But then that is one of the things about the current constitution. In simple terms under it what matters most is who you are and who you knew and coupled with a little cash there is nothing that you cannot do in this Kenya. The draft constitution gives firm ground for ordinary Kenyans with no connections as well as underdogs to fight against such devices and impunity as well as the rich and the connected.
Ironically Bishop Wanjiru is opposing the very constitution that would have saved her many of the problems that she has faced over the Starehe seat. But then I guess her hands are tied. She cannot be seen to be against the rest of the church. The church in Kenya that wants help in fighting sin from the country’s constitution. Interestingly those with this kind of thinking should study carefully what happened in the United States during the prohibition era when alcohol was banned. It proves beyond any doubt that the way to fight certain things is not to make laws against them.
To her credit Bishop Wanjiru seems to have matured enormously in politics. After the announcement of the court verdict in which she lost her seat she resisted the usual thing we see from politicians of the fairer sex. Mostly whining and crying foul. Instead an upbeat Wanjiru announced that she was ready for the by-election and had registered a victory of sorts because her opponent had failed to get the court to announce him the rightful winner.
P.S. There seems to be great fear amongst some Kenyans that the referendum will yield more violence in many part of the country and a repeat of the regrettable events of January 2008. Well for starters the circumstances are very different and what makes violence even more unlikely is the way most ordinary Kenyans have quickly grasped what the draft constitution means to them and their future and will not be fooled by self-serving politicians with an agenda to protect their ill-gotten wealth. The only exception to this are parts of the Rift Valley where the same folks who raped and murdered fellow Kenyans are still roaming free and flexing their muscles. William Ruto on sensing resounding defeat over the coming referendum has rushed back to his home turf in a bid to retain his reputation as the undisputed “tribal king” of the Kalenjin community. The methods this particular politician uses are wide and varied and therefore violence cannot be ruled out. Already there have been reports that certain residents of this province have received threats and have had to flee from their homes ahead of the referendum. It is interesting that at a recent public rally, Ruto has felt it necessary to assure Kenyans that voting will be peaceful.