By Albert Nyakundi Amenya
Political Parties Act 2011, I am told, is the overseer of all registered political parties in Kenya. Conversely, there are some that go against the spirit of the Act. In these parties, the expression of divergent views by members seems to be criminalized with glee. This has become a new Ebola in our politics.
Democracy is anchored on the fairness of the people and the freedom to choose what to say and who to associate with. This is necessary for the actualization of individual or group ideals and the promotion and protection of common interests. Since the introduction of multi-party politics in Kenya, politicians have always freely chosen between appropriate political platforms, either to contest or to throw their weight behind the candidates of their preferred parties.
Glorified intolerance is always the most dangerous weapon in the hands of many Kenyan political demagogues. However, it is most regrettable that when our national democracy is strikingly maturing and becoming entrenched, some forces of darkness are bent on stagnating it. Or how else can we explain the barbaric hounding of ODM Executive General Magerer Langat from Orange House â€“ the party that claims to champion for democracy.
It is no secret that politicians have continued to exhibit intolerance towards the policymakers and insensitivity to the plight of poor Kenyans. ODM They has not only elevated impunity as its policy, but is also currently working to return itself to the dark and dreary days of political party totalitarianism. Raila should be reminded that ours is a democracy, he must permit people to make new political choices.
ODM must galvanize itself to tackle and ultimately trounce the lords of impunity that are contravening the Political Parties Act. Raila should stop chasing shadows by sacrificing democracy on the altar of parochialism and selfish politics. He should endear himself to Kenyans by ensuring that Orange House bears the imprint of the spirit of order, justice and moderation.
For the MCAâ€™s that roughed up Magerer, it was bare-faced thuggery, insensitivity and indecency. By roughing up the party Executive, they exhibited unimaginative principles of governance, lack of vision and foresight.
The office of Magerer is a product of ODM Constitution, emerging at the behest of the Kenya Political Parties Act. Therefore his unceremonious persecution is nothing but the rule of force and not the rule of law which cannot prevail because democracy does not thrive on impunity.
Magerer was appointed primus inter pares â€“ a first among equals â€“ by ODMâ€™s National Executive Council (NEC) and he validly remains in office until he is constitutionally directed otherwise. He can only be sent parking by the party conflict resolution experts appointed to probe him.
The action of the MCAâ€™s, apparently on orders from â€˜aboveâ€™, confirms that the present ODM administration has utter disdain for political party democracy. Magerer has not violated any constitutional provision by expressing his freedom of speech. His accusers have no evidence against him. Nevertheless, even if he has committed any constitutional breach, the due process must be allowed to determine so, rather than hounding him like a dangerous criminal in full glare of the cameras. The heinous act against him has everlastingly traumatized him and his family.
Interestingly, when members of other political parties decamp to ODM, they are often welcomed with fanfare and immediately afforded adequate political protection even when they are not legally at liberty enjoy such perks. For instance, when Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale decamped from UDF to ODM, he was warmly received and immediately enjoyed the comfort zone. He found ODM to be the ideal political rostrum for him to do what he does best, throwing political stones at the government.
Magerer by his words and actions since his emergence as ODM Executive Director has left nobody in doubt that he is out to guarantee the overall growth of the party. He has helped to crown merit instead of political convenience. As a party Executive Director, he has deepened democracy. Mr. Odinga must come out clearly and save Magerer the ordeal. He must condemn the criminalization of divergent opinions that complicates the health of democracy.
Any attempt to continue to depriving him of his constitutional entitlements and forcefully removing him from office through unconstitutional means, is uncalled for. By allowing Magerer to suffer, the former Prime Minister is validating various damning accusations by critics that have continued to accuse him of running the party as his own property. Practically, ODM has desecrated its Constitution by overlooking the fact that democracy cannot stand without the rule of law.
In the face of this provocation, Kenyans must not only pray but also rise to defend democracy by protecting Magerer. To Kenyans across the political divide, this is not a matter of political affiliation. I am talking of the Executive Director of the party whose rights he has been scrapped indecorously and without due process. The illegal removal of Magerer and exposing him to both bodily and psychological detriment has gravely injured the soul of democracy in the party.