Tuesday, October 10, 2017

OPINION: Putting Kenya under the microscope

 

By Kasera Nick Oyoo

Try as we may, it is difficult not to keep looking over our shoulders at what is happening in our northern neighbour Kenya with a mixture of both awe and trepidation. Awe because the highest court in the land has had the temerity to annul the election of a president and order the holding of another election. Historic and as precedent setting as it ever shall be on our shores.

We watch Kenya with trepidation because in spite of the fact that the Tanzanian economy is growing at seven per cent (as it should be as an emerging economy compared to a relatively mature economy like Kenya), with the former stuck at five per cent, there are all indications that if things were to go south, what Tanzania benefits from Kenya in terms of exports would go up in smoke.

Yours truly is of the view that between Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta, the more homely, guy-about-town, the guy one had rather sit with over a drink, that man would no doubt be the easy-going son of the first President of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.

But as Kenya heads to the repeat election that follows the nullification of Uhuru’s election on August 8, we would do justice to put these facts on the table about why Kenya remains extremely polarized and why the bonhomie that Uhuru exemplifies camouflages the rage that Jomo’s son has carried from his father.

It is almost 40 years since old Jomo died, but his ability to fly off the handle was legendary to both friends and foes alike. He was wont to let rip with expletives about mothers of his foes and the rear ends of folk he did not like. It seems the apple did not fall far from the tree as Uhuru has shown from the day he went berserk about Supreme Court judges and dismissed them as a bunch of crooks. It is absurd that the same court was seen to be fair when it upheld Uhuru’s election four years ago.

Between Uhuru and his deputy, William Ruto, there has been no doubt that the duo has no respect for Kenya’s robust constitution, which was promulgated seven years ago. If they had, they would not be uttering the words they have been uttering since the court delivered its landmark judgment on September 1.

The duo has gone as far as saying that if Odinga is elected on October 26, they would use their majority in Parliament and Senate to impeach him. It may well be within their right since impeachment of the president is provided for in the constitution. However, to impeach a president simply because voters rejected his or her main rival is outrageous.

It shows how callous, selfish and self-centered the duo is. This is not to say Odinga is a saint. However, the facts, as anyone can see, vindicate the man from Bondo.

Electoral laws that are being rushed through parliament are certainly not in good faith if we are to take international best practices into consideration. There is a deliberate attempt by Uhuru’s coalition to control the electoral commission through split decisions and minority quorum.

Finally, revision of Kenya’s epochal history continues with those who are on the right side of history being branded usurpers, while those who have power using it to intimidate and hopefully beat the rest of the nation into submission. Will the revisionist win or shall history lead those who are on its right side to steer the nation into the greatness it deserves? Only time will tell even as the world is watching.

Kasera Nick Oyoo is a research and communications consultant with Midas Touché East Africa     

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