By Gilbert O Kenya
Any country without a well-defined and strong opposition is always at risk of having its Democratic space stifled and completely suffocated over time.
Any government anywhere is a Juggernaut whose most obvious characteristics include a sickening combination of red tape, reluctance, intimidation and pure impunity in the name of keeping law and order. It’s a complex system.
Hence it is necessary to have strong checks and balances (which include but not limited to: a strong opposition, a functional parliament and an independent judiciary) in order to force govt to do what it ought to do, and guard against the ever present risk of the system morphing into a monster that might devour the very people it’s supposed to serve.
The Juggernaut called govt needs to be cajoled, pushed and sometimes shocked into action. Depending on its benevolence is expecting too much. When despots in the executive and a clique of individuals around them capture and control the state like personal property, the masses get into trouble.
Look at Uganda, for instance. The country’s opposition, which has been gradually emasculated since dictator Museveni took over power, is now completely unable to hold the rabid despot to account. I am not very sure about the credibility of their Parliament and judiciary either.
Museveni came to power through the gun but was celebrated as a hero who emancipated the people of Uganda from the firm grip of a despot. He came with seemingly good intentions. However, he has turned out to be a worse despot than his predecessor.
It’s for this reason that we must not sit on our Laurels and celebrate the uneasy calm that we have enjoyed in Kenya, since the HANDSHAKE, for too long. It might be the calm before a nasty storm.
We need a strong opposition as well as a Parliament and judiciary with a mind of their own. Without a tangible opposition, we are always at risk.