Legitimacy can’t be acquired through fear
Kenya has degenerated into a defacto dictatorship. The events of last week are enough proof — especially when those sworn to uphold and protect the constitution openly decided to defy it. It’s culmination came when two men who stood next to Raila Odinga during his ceremonial swearing in were arrested and charged. Some journalists and NASA politicians had to rush to court to get anticipatory bail just incase they get arrested. The government ordered TV stations shutdown, an unnecessary move that will go down in history as part of President Uhuru’s legacy.
All these arrests are unnecessary. Raila Odinga was sworn into a non-existent post — and he went home. That would have been the end of story, but the government overreacted. The police blew Miguna’s doors with explosives before arresting and illegally detaining him for days. The court demanded he be produced in court — but the police decided to take him on a tour of central Kenya. He would be moved from one police station to another, denied access to his lawyer and medication. What President Uhuru’s government has done in the past seven days undermines the constitution and rule of law. He has treated the constitution like a hotel menu; he picks and chooses what laws he wants to follow.
Sadly by undermining the rule of law and the constitution, he is leading Kenya into anarchy. If Raila Odinga committed treason for swearing himself as President, the law should follow its course. Raila’s address is known, the man hasn’t gone into hiding and by punishing witnesses instead of the culprit reveals that Uhuru is afraid. Uhuru is afraid that his election was disputed and he does not feel respected. His action shows that he is insecure. He doesn’t feel like a legitimate presidency. Legitimacy can’t be acquired using fear. In his insecurity, the Members of Parliament elected on Jubilee platform whose work is to represent the people have gone quiet. The few who have spoken have decided to attack the judiciary and call it Wakora (thug) Network.
Where we go from here is unknown. The President using his jubilee minions can decide to amend the constitution to “legalise” his dictatorship. The last parliament was his rubber stamp and the current one is going to become his lap dog. He might decide to deny the Judiciary funding and trim their powers. Better yet change the constitution to make them tow the line. Uhuru wants to be an executive president whose actions can’t be questioned.
How l wish he used this zeal to deal with corruption, drug dealers and poachers. This ‘l am the president’ contest will leave Kenya’s reputation damaged. No one invests in a country where the rule of law is not respected. No one would dare invest in a country where citizens are kidnapped and deported. No one will invest in a country where court orders are ignored.
The people cheering Uhuru have no idea the monster they’re about to unleash, because when Uhuru is done with NASA they might be next. Uhuru is setting up Kenya to fail, but in our failure he will destroy himself too. I won’t be surprised if he amends the constitution to run again. That’s just what dictators do. To the Senators, MPS and leaders who are quiet as Uhuru disregards the constitution, history shall judge you harshly. Remember the government didn’t elect you; the people did, speak for them and defend them. Protect our constitution. The law should be an equalizer and no one should be above it. Uhuru is breaking the law. Who will save us?
This article was written by Human Rights activist Boniface Mwangi and first appeared on the Nairobian Column on 9th February 2018.