In Raila and Kalonzo, Uhuru has help in killing Parliament
3 months ago, 22 Sep 08:57
Is Kenya rolling back the democratic gains that have taken so many years to put together? This week’s activities by the leaders of the Jubilee Party, the Orange Democratic Movement and Wiper Democratic Party leave you gasping. Is the country not going back to Methuselah?
Against all pressure, there is a determined tripartite effort to make Parliament the rubber-stamp of a few individuals – basically the fellows at the top. Chinua Achebe has told us of a hopeless character who sold his machete and carried his empty sheath to battle. If Parliament is supposed to serve the people, does President Uhuru Kenyatta’s bullying of Jubilee MPs around the Finance Bill 2018 negate this? Is Parliament at the risk of becoming an empty sheath?
It would seem that State House has taken away the blade for its whims. Kenyans are holding an empty scabbard. In this, State House has found strong allies in ODM’s Raila Odinga and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka. The two are the proverbial outsiders who weep louder than the bereaved. They have gone beyond their political “sell by” date. Raila and Kalonzo are a liability to citizens. They can only be relevant by blackmailing the nation with mayhem if they are not included in the State banquet.
If the democratic voices in the three parties do not stand up to the big man syndrome, Kenya is headed to a bad place. We have been here before. We were in high school – some of us – when the Jomo Kenyatta regime began the mission to kill Parliament. In October 1975 the government was smarting from public outrage following the murder of JM Kariuki in March. A parliamentary select committee had implicated senior state officials in the murder.
The Executive wanted to kill the report of the committee. They were angry that Parliament had asserted its independence and supremacy in the JM Affair. They went on a ruthless offensive against the Legislature.
A nominated MP called Philip Njoka referred to the members of the Elijah Mwangale probe committee as “a bunch of rogues.” Standing up for the dignity of the committee and Parliament, Martin Shikuku of Butere said, “Anyone trying to lower the dignity of the House wants to kill Parliament the way Kanu was killed.”
For saying that Kanu was dead, Shikuku was packed away in detention for three years. He was arrested in the precincts of Parliament together with Deputy Speaker Jean Marie Seroney. Seroney had agreed that Kanu was dead. There was no need for Shikuku to substantiate the obvious, Seroney told Parliament.
Today, the attitude of the Executive towards Parliament brings back memories of those horrific times. The only political party in the country had become the property of the Executive, following the banning of the Kenya People’s Union (KPU) in 1969. Starting with the infamous Limuru power play of 1966, Kanu had become an oppressive imp against independent minds. It would blossom into a full-blown monster.
For Kanu was trying to demean Parliament. Shikuku and Seroney spoke ...
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