By George Nyongesa
Time runs, runs fast.
Tomorrow, five years ago (on August 27), Kenyans gave themselves a new social contract – the Constitution of Kenya 2010. We agreed to social standards of mutually beneficial, harmonious living that would hopefully usher in new frontiers of possibilities, opportunities and potentialities.
The new social contract has many good things, but the most important is that it re-imagined Kenya within the hallmarks of devolution and a robust Bill of Rights. Devolution created 47 centers of government service delivery.
The Bill of Rights protected our liberties, dignity and sovereignty from the intrusive government of the day. The birth of new constitution was likened to a birth of new baby, as the baby grows; we should never forget the anti-baby-forces that wanted the baby dead are still alive.
Do you remember how, the now DP, William Ruto led the retrogressive anti-new-constitution-forces to mutilate the Naivasha draft which gave birth to a less good document?
The mutilation was intended to provoke the progressive pro-new-constitution forces led by the then Prime Minister, Raila Odinga to reject the new social contract and default back to status quo. Thank God, pro-change forces saw through the scheme, and Raila declared in Swahili: “heri nusu shari kuliko bila”.
Today, “nusu shari” has unlocked potential and revolutionized development and government service delivery as well as created opportunities in the-forgotten-areas such as North Eastern, Western, Nyanza, Lower Eastern, and Maasailand.
Most importantly, the “nusu shari” has pushed us into new thinking and possibilities that has rejuvenated millions of us into a new belief in creating a perfect union. Yes, like the Americans, we are also thinking: â€œE Pliribus Unumâ€ translated as â€œOut of many, oneâ€.
Granted, as a human product this constitution is not perfect, suffering both real and manufactured problems of implementation. The REAL challenges we face in the implementation of this ‘new social order’ are normal for any man-made document designed to serve a plural society. However, the manufactured problems are the dying kicks of the retrogressive forces that cheated their way into power and now use the levers of power to reignite what they failed to achieve in the old order to keep status quo.
I mean, would you expect William Ruto to be enthusiastic about growth and progress of our 5 year old baby that he wanted murdered at birth? If you honestly analyze the history of Kenyan constitution making, the challenges encountered and the roles that the types and likes of Ruto played, then you have no option but to agree with me. In fact, even President Uhuru Kenyatta hopped on the new constitution bandwagon to avoid history judging him harshly.
He joined the push for new constitution very late after discovering the new idea was unstoppable. Therefore, anyone with critical, reflective and analytical mind would not fail to see why UHURUTO regime is unfriendly to a new order.
The indicting evidence lies in some of the retrogressive laws Kenyatta regime has initiated and sometimes succeeded to make law. We should never forget the failed original draft of the Security Laws and of how our media remains gagged after a controversial new media law came into force. In the works at the Uhuruto kitchen is ‘The KDF Amendment Bill 2015’ which as currently drafted will
turn Kenya into a military state. A bright mind once said: “There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people“.
If there is any truth in this statement, then we have every reason to be worried, real worried. Why would a legitimate government want a fall back to military power in a Civilian State? Military are not trained to deal with citizens who have liberties, rights and freedoms so once Uhuru gets his way our â€˜Bill of Rightsâ€™ goes under the drain.
This piece was about reminding us that the struggle continues and I donâ€™t see a better way to conclude it than by toasting the heroes that blazed our path to the new social order: The Late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenneth Matiba, Martin Shikuku, Wanyiri Kihoro, James Orengo, Chelagat Mutai, Wafula Buke, Gitobu Imanyara, Abuya Abuya, Koigi Wamwere, Mwachegu wa Mwachofi, Chibule wa Tsuma, Wasike Ndobi , Lawrence Sifuna, Onyango Midika, Charles Rubia, Paddy Onyango, Late Wangari Maathai, Paul Muite, and Raila Odinga.
These are the selfless patriots who risked their lives, their families and their future unto death of a bullet, jail and/or joblessness to ensure that we, yours and my generation, are on the path where one day we shall hold hands as we sing some words from an old negro song: â€œFree at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at lastâ€, the words that were immortalized by Dr. Martin Lutherâ€™s â€œI Have A Dream Speechâ€.
George Nyongesa is a media practitioner in Nairobi. Find him on Face Book or Twitter @GeorgeNyongesa