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Ngunyi, negotiation is not the way to a new constitution

Published November 22, 2009

Now Mutahi Ngunyi has elected to discredit the committee of experts, by questioning their expertise in constitution making. He has heightened suspicions surrounding his mission lately; what baffles most is, at what point in time did he realize these people were incompetent?

There is obvious mischief in dismissing the experts as quacks. After all, this draft has a long way to go, before it becomes law! Shouldn’t the brilliant Ngunyi have warned Kenyans, about the supposed quacks at the time the committee was constituted? No!  Because he knew they would draft something “favourable.”

 The word expert refers to endowment with both tacit and explicit knowledge, as adopted by the English from the Middle French, who used it to refer to skill, and mastery in a specific body of learning. Did our experts really fall so short, as to warrant reference as quacks, which is defined as the sound made by ducks or the weeds, whose stems creep underground? Or are they pretenders to the medical skill? Where do they fall Mr Ngunyi?

 That politics is about the affairs of the people means they know what they want, and how to get it. Most important is the collective will; and the French revolution was a classic example of the power of the people, against an aristocratic few.

That institutions are created by the people, takes into cognizance their interests and wider aspirations. Ngunyi should cease to preach the thought that, the destiny of Kenya lies in the hands of a club of despots, governing Kenya today.

Our constitution should not be the business of negotiating tribal chiefs. And who are these chiefs? The irony in Ngunyi’s idea is that, he refers to the independence constitution, as the genesis of our present plight.

Tribe is not entirely a bad thing; in fact, every part of the world has designations based on tribal origin, affiliation, and orientation. What we should strive to eliminate is tribal considerations in matters of national, and collective good. We should be advocating the overriding principle that, the nation reigns supreme. What we need is national debate, not boardroom negotiations.

Let us stroll down memory lane. Ngunyi certainly knows this much, but brazenly wants to twist facts, for his paymaster, of course. Friend, lest the ink dries on your assertion; the first constitution was hewed out of a colonial situation. It was not a tribal constitution, more than all, it was a racial constitution! Reason, because in the first place, the first Lancaster Constitution of February1960 was named after a colonial personality-“The Maclead Constitution!”

The result was a power negotiation among Africans, Europeans, Asians, Arabs, Asian Muslims and non Muslim Asians. Where in this scheme, was tribe a factor? When this arrangement failed, it was because Africans and Europeans felt that their racial interests were not well articulated by the document. This led to the second Lancaster Conference of February 1962.

This too was named after a white man, Reginald Maulding, the colonial secretary of state. There were no tribal considerations; KANU, KADU, Kenya Coalition, and Mwambao segments ended up with a Coalition Government,  led by KANU and KADU.

When Jomo Kenyatta became Prime Minister, he had executive power, because his party had the majority in Parliament. He led the cabinet  as KADU, and APP formed a coalition opposition. Surely, what went wrong? Someone killed opposition in Parliament, created a de’jure single party dictatorship, and we got messed forever. That is the truth.

We will debate this constitution, although Ngunyi has decided to scare Kenyans on behalf of someone, which amounts to incitement, by spreading fear. The dynamics of a constitutional referendum vary greatly from presidential elections; that is why the defeat of banana in 2005, did not elicit as much heat as the electoral threat to Kibaki in 2007.

 There is this erroneous thought that, Kenyans fought, and died in 2007 because they were tribal. For four years, Kenyans had been electioneering, with more than 300 political parties. They trooped peacefully to the ballot box, co-existed, and dined together, until violent robbery of their vote took place, and they reacted.  Kenyans do not, and will not fight; someone will hire goons, and create chaos.

A section of Kenyans has been asked to procreate in drones, to ensure political numbers. These sentiments amount to exploitation. Only the poor will multiply, as the wealthy downsize their families; why? To be bought cheaply for political gains.

Ngunyi, the Coca Cola allusion was grossly misplaced. If anything, the company suffered as a result of spreading vending machines all over. They misread the market, and thought their fortunes were dwindling owing to distance, while in real sense, market forces were shifting, with people moving to other varieties such as water, and energy drinks. That is the blindside from which Pepsi hit Coke.

Whereas Ngunyi, such a fine brained man, prides in being a liar and proceeds to lie to us; he knows debate to be exchange of ideas, while negotiation is about give and take. Is Kenya now reduced to a give-and-take situation? Remember that is what messed the first constitution.

Time makes more converts than reason; else Ngunyi would have converted to  new ways of political thinking.


Reach Syvester Oluoch and Lawrence Chiteri at soluoch@eafricainfocus.com.

Author Profile: Story  on November 22, 2009, 10 Comments
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10 Responses to “Ngunyi, negotiation is not the way to a new constitution”

  1. wyckliffe Onyimbo says on: 22 November 2009 at 7:27 am

    The line of thought in this article holds water .

    We have had very interactive discussions with my collegues and most people have realized that the harmonised draft constitution has covered most aspects of peoples expactation.

    What is remaining are a little polishing here and there.

  2. Sylvester says on: 22 November 2009 at 8:25 am

    Owuor, what exactly is not factual in our response. Even the 1997 and 1997 (I wonder what the difference is) you cite was the work of hired hoodlums; nobody just gets up and attacks another individual for voting as he or she pleases. Besides, in a secret ballot there is no telling the direction of one’s vote. I respect Ngunyi’s genious in politics, but that does not guarantee him a new set of facts, like the one on the first constitution, that he tries to create in his story. If we were too dumb to check facts we would not be doctoral candidates. Just steer clear of that kind of nonsense. Why don’t you point out the exact, factual flaws in the article?

  3. Sylvester says on: 22 November 2009 at 8:27 am

    Owuor, the just concluded census report is not out yet. These things take ages to analyse. Where do you base your citation?

  4. lawrence Chiteri says on: 22 November 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Owuor is iredeemably closed.The article did not say who made the procreation quote,and he has swallowed the bait hook and sinker. Now we know who said it,thanks for your information.I will repeat, Kenyans have never fought because of tribe,do some reading pal!!!The article you mention was about Mutahi Ngunyis ideas vis a vis the constitution;show us the specific line about a personality and a province.Your obsession with Raila and Nyanza obliterate your imagination to a fault. I personally do not care about a mortal and a unit, I cry for beloved Kenya. We are simply not reading from the same script;this is the last privilage you will have, to read a response to trivialties, and bush man taxi driver stuff.Lest people cease to notice the difference. When you cease to mint issues, and grow into discourse, we will talk. Kwaheri

  5. Pamela Mulumby pmulumby says on: 22 November 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Owuor, East Africa in Focus provides a forum for its readers to engage in constructive discourse. Please be advised that we do not condone name calling, and the next time you call any of our readers or writers names, we shall have no choice, but to block you from leaving any comments on our web site. Thanks

  6. Thomas Japanni says on: 23 November 2009 at 1:58 am

    An otherwise brilliant analyst, who after winning our trust, goes ahead and trashes it by underestimating our intelligence. I have religiously read Ngunyi’s columns over the years to be able to tell when he is engaging in psychological hanky panky. I know when he is speaking from the heart and when he is doing a hatchet job. So much for Kenyan columnists! They all have a price. We’ve just entered that silly season again…..

  7. William Makora says on: 23 November 2009 at 3:07 am

    I think Mutahi Ngunyi deserves some real punches of the face for writing nothing constructive on a special space that can attract a good business for the company. And careless inflamatory comments he puts across should be cross examined because he seems not to do any real researches. But thanks, he does not capture a serious readership. Sometime I commented that he writes like a high school student for the illustrations he uses. Sometime he almost, directly, asked a ruling community to eliminate a leader he considered was a threat to them then thry could make a small deity of him ‘that is a lesser risk than letting him live and threaten their interests’. When I heard some members of this community comment at a political rally asking the President to consider ‘doing away with him’ (the leader) I saw how careless scribing can devastate harmony especially if not ignored in its contents. After that opinion, he was shortly recruited to be a political advisor of a think-tank before they fell out. He became a bit bitter with them castigating their positions before he returned to lick their boots. Ngunyi is really a terrible person.

  8. bernard mutahi says on: 23 November 2009 at 4:05 am

    i wish to correct Makora in view of the comments abount ngunyi. yes Mutahi may be wrong but when the remarks degenerates to an almost confrontational ,emotional or personal, then someone misses the point. what we need is information-substance,debate and all not mudslinging. let’s have substance when debating to reflect the content of our thoughts and knowledge of issues in question!

  9. emkei says on: 23 November 2009 at 7:56 am

    Is it true to say that the two authors only write articles to counter Mutahi Ngunyi but offers no fresh ideas of their own?
    Cases in point;
    1. Ngunyi, negotiation is not the way….
    2. Ngunyi best turncoat of our times…
    3. That was a white lie, Mutahi Ngunyi….

    i am new to this site and i just wonder why the authors cannot take the initiative of offering fresh ideas other than their current career of chasing Ngunyi’s ideas and trying to kill them.


  10. Geoffrey Wainaina says on: 23 November 2009 at 8:36 am

    Greetings Mutahi,
    I write on this blog knowing very well that you may choose to read and ignore my advice but nevertheless i have to do it. A few days ago i asked you a question on this blog on whether you are headed to the bank to get a loan and bet it on the flop of CoE’s working draft in referendum next year.

    In so doing I wanted to know whether your opinion had changed based on reading the authentic draft and not the fake draft you based your opinion on. I think you quickly realized the folly of reading fake drafts and basing your opinion on them (kindly refer to your last opinion “why i will vote no to the draft constitution”) This is well illustrated in your yesterday opinion where you have reduced the contentious issues you from two i.e executive and majimbo to one, i,e executive. For reading the authentic draft i salute you!.

    Allow me to critically question your yesterdays opinion for a bit. Knowing very well that Kenyans have by today less than three weeks of debate i found your article “cowardly and a work of intellectual laziness” I may be wrong on this but if I choose not to be right.

    Why on earth would you go ahead and discredit the committee’s work and not come out with a proposal that you think would work. Fair enough you said that if we fix the executive then the constitution will be OK,( presumably will pass in next years referendum).

    My questions are two to be precise- What exactly is contentious in the executive? how do we fix it ? Why do you reduce your self to the level of politicians who are out there claiming that the document is bad without exactly answering the above two questions.To me that’s an act of cowardice and intellectual laziness. I have by know read the document as a Kenyan. I think that the executive power has been well distributed and by this draft we shall forget about imperial presidency. There is room for improvement where i would propose that Prime ministers cabinet appointment be vetted by parliament to check and guard against political patronage and reward.

    Kindly note that this is the document that you and I are going to bequeath our children and the generations to come. So if you think about it hard enough your opinions are going to be informed on what input can i give but not what vague criticism will i give.

    Kindly answer the above two questions


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