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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

In Our Gloom Have We Forgotten How Good Our Constitution Is?

Guest Post By Amesa Omega
I am not a political enthusiast but there are some indicators that make me as a "mwananchi wa kawaida" to look to the future with optimism. The primary purpose of the the new constitution was to devolve powers from the presidency (read Executive) to the Counties,  Commissions and the other two arms of Government (Judiciary and Legislature). The effects of these changes are gradually being seen in;

1. The way development is being simultaneously seen across the Counties irrespective of political rightness or wrongness. 
2. The way the Judiciary and Parliament are running their calendars and timetables with a high level of independence. 
3. The potential that Commissions have to play their role without fear or favour. 
4. The power that the common man (Wanjiku) is realising that he/she has with the vote,  ability to protest and universal locus standi to take any matter affecting him or others to court (I always laugh when I remember that Okiya Omtata went to court and a ruling was made that the hotline number of police (999) be reinstated in all police stations). 

That President Uhuru can receive a warm welcome in Kisumu and former Prime Minister Raila can be cheered on by a large crowd in Kiambu (although these visits are unlikely to change the voting pattern in the respective areas) is a great step in democracy and political maturity in Kenya. I wish football fans in our stadiums can do the same. 

That Kenyans can directly tell their presidential or party leaders to leave them to vote whom they want in the smaller offices of Governor,  MP,  MCA etc, is a good sign for democracy and harmony in Kenya. Politicians will no longer be coming with lists of team members for Wanjiku to endorse,  instead it is Wanjiku who will be telling the politician whom to put in his team. Elected members will realize that they owe their loyalty to Wanjiku and they will prioritize the things that are important to her,  not the powers that be. Debates in National and County parliaments will be objective and geared towards making life better for Wanjiku,  not perks for the politicians. Any elected member who will not deliver to Wanjiku' satisfaction or expectations will be shown the door. People will be judged by what contribution they make make to society,  not by which tribe,  political alignment or wealth status they are associated with. Issues of discrimination,  corruption,  incitement and vulgar language will be minimized. Merit will be valued and honoured. All Kenyans will have equal opportunity to become or attain their dreams. 

Wanjiku is giving more attention to the Governor because she can feel the change right where she is standing in the County. The effect of this is that the presidency will cease to hold the awe and sacredness it has been having and presidential election will gradually become just another event in the political calendar of Kenya. The word "hot spots" will be removed from our  vocabulary in Kenyan politics and security. 

May Wanjiku acknowledge,  appreciate and utilize the power of citizenship that the new Constitution has given her.

The solution to most problems is either within or around us.

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