What has Jubilee done in good faith?
By Sospeter Otieno
This month marks Jubilee’s two years in power. And a look at the Jubilee regime’s major decrees and pronouncements, gives one a sense of a regime preoccupied with consolidation of power, rather the expansion of democratic space and freedoms.
For example, I am yet to comprehend why Uhuru’s first agenda when he rose to power involved assaulting the major pillars of freedoms and liberty that Kenyans had yearned for, and had earned through blood-shed during the struggles in the 90s, and which had gotten consolidated through the passage of the 2010 constitution.
Uhuru â€“ who was educated at Amherst (an elitist college right at the melting pot of America’s progressive and liberal thinking) â€“ is a man I have no doubt was well schooled in the tenets of good governance, liberty, freedom, just government and the rule of law. And so itâ€™s surprising and disturbing that he would preside over a state that is the epitome of poor governance that has completely veered off the path of national renewal and revival, and instead maximises every opportunity to limit rather than expand freedoms. How Uhuru has turned out, certainly canâ€™t be the consequence of this Amherst exposure, but is easily attributable to what my fear could be â€“ that Moi deliberately instituted a state programme to indoctrinate Uhuru in the Kanu gentleman ways as part of the greater Uhuru project, which appeared defeated in 2002.
This argument becomes even more valid, when we consider that every time the nation has been confronted with a major crisis or disaster that is the subject of national debate, Uhuru utilises the opportunity to squeak â€“ in what has been a glaring intention to align the state machinery with Jubilee’s ideological roots â€“ which traces back to Kanu.
Jubilee’s intentions of instituting a dictatorial ‘caliphate’ are evident in their multiple instances of utter disregard of various judicial rulings and constitutionalism. An assault on the civil society has also been part of this dictatorial legacy and tendency.
Upon assuming power in 2013, the Jubilee administration, with the aid of a rogue Parliament, embarked on what may pass for an assault on media freedoms, through the institution of draconian media laws that created a regulatory body to police on the media, and made it easier to jail, intimidate and fine journalists and media houses. But what did we expect of a regime whose top brass has been overheard saying that newspapers are for wrapping meat? Besides, the 2013 general election had one of the Presidential candidates being the most libel-mining political operatives in Kenyan history.
Having assumed power with a firm grip on both chambers of the legislature, the judiciary was the only arm of government loosely removed from the Jubilee state’s ‘puppeteer’ ambitions. As such, the Mutunga-led judiciary â€“ even after declaring Uhuru President under controversial circumstances â€“ soon became the target of Jubilee’s power consolidation schemes. The President â€œciting Parliamentary counselâ€ suspended the Judicial Service Commission, and appointed a tribunal headed by Jubilee Election Dispute Chair Justice Aaron Ringera (and assisted by among others, Uhuru loyalist Otieno Weda). This judiciary-meddling agenda was, however, stopped in its tracks when the High Court nullified the Ringera-led tribunal. Had this scheme succeeded, the unravelling script would have culminated in the judiciary becoming an appendage of the executive.
For the last two years, Kenyans endured a regime that has a penchant for capitalising on calamitous events to advance its ‘evil’ agenda.
Take for instance the calamitous event that was the Mpeketoni massacre, and which State House in a Kremlin-like fashion attributed to what they called “local political networks”. The notion of the opposition being behind the attacks was also deepened by Jubilee allied bloggers, who in a choreographed fashion followed through with echoing and expounding the President’s sensational claims. This well executed script had the effect of slowing down the resurgent opposition momentum, which was on a nationwide tour of the nation to popularise their popular push for national dialogue.
And when under national pressure to address corruption, Uhuru tabled a list of shame. The high stakes involved in the anti-corruption fight would make one wish that the anti-corruption list of shame was in good faith. And my position has been unequivocal and unrelenting in calling for the prosecution of the corrupt. However, it causes me anguish when certain known corrupt figures of high political value to Jubilee 2017 agenda were MIA in that list. Among them was a notoriously corrupt individual that Cord Supremo Raila Odinga called â€œThe High Priest of Corruption”.
Any fight against corruption loses traction without taking on this Kanu-turned Jubilee ideologue that also doubles up as a major obstacle to any type of reform in this country. The answer as to why this High Priest was spared is politically evident when at a closer look, the opposition figures mentioned in the EACC list of shame comprise the heart and soul of Cord, whose jailing or barring from holding public office would ground the Cord 2017 campaigns. The Jubilee-shamed, on the other hand, are politically benign and insignificant folks with no political clout â€“ who seem more of collateral damage in a broader 2017 Uhuru re-election strategy.
And when it came to Garissa attack, Jubilee rather than take responsibility for one of the many attacks in its two years of ‘hopelessness’, blamed anyone other than their ineptitude and incompetence. Rather than take responsibility for the lacklustre and primitive response to the Garissa massacre, the state chose to blame the death of 147 innocent souls on the court-halted corruption riddled recruitment of 10,000 police recruits. We now know the problem wasn’t the police numbers, but security strategy, which included using an instrument vital to national security (police plane) in ferrying a well-connected family to a Mombasa-Raha trip, at a time when kids of poor Kenyans needed to be rescued from al Shabaab gunmen. How much more suffering will Kenyans endure before 2017?