By Dikembe Disembe
ROAD TO A NOBODY: LAWYER AHMEDNASSIR REPRESENTS A COUNTRY DELAYED AT TAKE-OFF
When the history of â€˜third liberationâ€™ is finally written by those society will bequeath of such an honour, the name Ahmednassir Abdullahi will prominently occupy its own chapter. It will not just be mentioned as a passing political footnote in a judicial discourse like, say that of Janet Ongera and her rejected 900-page affidavit, nay, lawyer Ahmednassir will be discussed extensively. Sadly, the chapter on Ahmednassir, like those on political assassinations gathering dust on the TJRC report, will be a sorry one!
For now, the country is still frenzied with other pre-occupations. No new books are being written because everything is being tweeted or posted on Facebook. Parliament, commissions and pigs are occupying all headlines and the media is everywhere-including at the compound of the gracious Raphael Tujuâ€™s wife-picking soundbites for a generation which reaches its social orgasm while discussing political propaganda or alleged sex-deaths after escapades by the high and mighty, like it happened in Mutula Kilonzo Vs the Republic.
Amid this clatter, let me peel off the mask today worn by this funny creature called Ahmednassir. From the onset, I must admit something:
I used to be a great reader and â€˜intellectualâ€™ fan of Ahmednassir Abdullahi. After March 4, which is like an Anno Domini of sorts, I no longer read the man as such. If Abdullahi was to read this piece, I am sure he will dismiss it as â€œpedestrianâ€, a term he uses quite often to refer to those he consider intellectually lesser beings.
I first met Abdullahi â€˜taking onâ€™ Dr Joyce Nyairo (Daily Nation, Saturday October 27, 2012). In his characteristic style of using big words which boomerang on his readers for ages, Abdullahi went hammer and tongs on Dr Nyairo, whom apparently had also opened bare knuckle war on Pheroze Nowrojee in defence of Uhuru Kenyatta-then a candidate for the presidency of Kenya with criminal baggage hanging around his neck. But Uhuru became president, choices and consequences not withstanding.
â€œOh, what a bitter loyalist this Dr Nyairo is!â€ was the screaming headline of the article, which after the second paragraph now bordered on pure malice. After haranguing on the â€˜ideologicalâ€™ divide of the pro-change luminaries and reactionaries in the status quo bandwagon, where he believed Dr. Nyairo belonged, and occupied very ebb , he noted:
â€œIf Mr Kenyatta replied in person or through his spokesperson, one could appreciate the purport of the attack. But who is Dr Nyairo in the scheme of things for us to appreciate her rage and revolt against Mr Nowrojee? Does she work for Mr Kenyatta?â€
While Dr Nyairo had accused Pheroze Nowrojeeâ€™s peers such as Willy Mutunga as an â€˜unfolding spectacle of aborted reformersâ€™( this was the period reports first came out of the wasteful consumption of tax payers money by judges, including the Chief Justice, who were being chauffeured around town in motorcades and were living in palatial homes).
For long, Abdullahi projected himself as a reformist per excellence. He took on senior judges with boyhood abandon, and, solely, raised the bar on public vetting. In the end, people believed that what came out of the crucible of Abdullahi was a societal good fit for consumption.
In essence, the initial optimism on the judiciary was raised, in a big part, by the judicial vetting process these judges went through, rather than their own academic prowess, or public service. Abdullahi was the chief foreman at the construction site of the judicial building that the country would shelter on at times of need.
But we have learnt that impunity is resilient. Impunity is human. It outlives a generation and transitions with the changes that may come. Impunity rewards status quoists, making sure the political bureaucracy suffers no internal shocks. Sometimes, impunity kills.
Ahmednassir who authors Nairobi Law Monthly and sits in the Judicial Service Commission was not just the IEBC Chairmanâ€™s lawyer, him of the â€˜accept and move onâ€™, in an election which left the judiciary smelling of faecal waste. Many a time, I struggled to reconcile the Ahmednassir of the vetting process and the one who claimed decisions brought on the Supreme Court only served academic purposes.
Recently in another ugly case pitting the countryâ€™s national grain reserve, NCPB, against Erad Suppliers Ltd, Ahmednassirâ€™s name featured dubiously in the evolving scandal where the grain reserve was ordered to pay Erad Ksh 500 million, a case which lawyer Katwa Kigen bluntly told the parliamentary investment committee to â€˜get annoyed!â€™. This was another case I struggled to reconcile what country Abdullahi was building.
Every time Kenya wants to leap forward; Ahmednassirs of this country pulls it back. Initially, thieves and reactionaries were shoddy businessmen who bought off politicians and highly placed government functionaries to achieve their ends, however, this generation of â€˜dark forcesâ€™ are people whom society bequeaths certain honoraries. Sometimes, they are highly revered individuals who are educated, well placed and purport to be â€˜concernedâ€™ about fighting impunity.
As Law society of Kenya plans to replace Ahmednassir from the JSC where allegations are that he used his position to influence rulings and judgements his clients had an interest in; devotees of the rule of Law can sigh with relief, knowing so well that one cog has finally been plucked from the countryâ€™s wheel of social progress.
In the meantime, Ahmednassir can continue spewing underwhelming intellectual verbiage in his column in the Saturday Nation; or which national newspaper is that he writes in? If he happens to read this, let him know that the West he derides in every article is not Kenyaâ€™s number one enemy. Our biggest enemy are compatriots who use their positions of authority to stifle reforms, pee at the rule of Law and puke at institutions meant to safeguard the weak from the excesses of the strong.
Ahmednassir embodies the challenges Kenya must overcome to reach vision 2030; and because the government of men is perpetuity, we shall overcome!