Ngunyi, negotiation is not the way to a new constitution
By SYLVESTER OLUOCH AND LAWRENCE CHITERI
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.