David Makali: Ringera, why are you clinging to this job?

I have come to the conclusion that the biggest obstacle to just governance and the rule of law in Kenya today is squarely one of a dishonest President. In almost every social and political crisis that has befallen us since 2003, ineffectual leadership and mischief motivated by political expediency is self-evident.

And the stalemate over the illegal re-appointment of Justice Aaron Ringera and his cast of pretenders to office is but the latest example. It recalls the circus that the country was taken through by Samuel Kivuitu's discredited Electoral Commission, and the fallout in the Narc government after 2002 elections.

In the case of the ECK, the President invoked his imperial executive powers to appoint commissioners contrary to established tradition and a standing gentleman's agreement he had benefited from. The straight inference was that he had appointed commissioners to serve his interests. And no measure of public protests could drive sense either into the President or the beneficiaries.

The consequence was that the ECK lost its credibility way before going into the elections and set the stage for political conflict. Come the elections and the ECK's general conduct only vindicated those who believed it had been conscripted in an ulterior scheme to return a particular result.

The chaos was predictable. Yet, despite driving the country to the brink of civil war, none of the disgraced commissioners felt conscientious enough to resign. They took a bleeding country through the court to defend their bloody contracts and terms of service and extract their dues without a sense of responsibility. I hear they were all paid over Sh20 million each!

Now flip to Ringera & Co; another bunch of people we have all along believed to be decent and honourable enough to obey the law. But now they are sitting tight as controversy rages about the circumstances of their appointment. I ask, do these people have any conscience? I must remind them that the English verb "re-sign" was coined precisely for circumstances such as they find themselves in.

By refusing to resign — or in this case insisting on taking up their illegal appointments — they have proved themselves to be not just morally bankrupt but accomplices in breaking the law, which is in itself a bad statement on their competence and integrity.

No, it is not a matter of different interpretation of the law. Nor can they take refuge in the fact that they have only been appointed and the person answerable is the President. They are accountable to the people of Kenya because they are the direct beneficiaries of an action which has been shown to be clearly mischievous, fraudulent and illegal.

icy cannot pretend that they have been appointed against their will, because they lobbied for those jobs. They cannot pretend that something disastrous will befall the country if they are not in those offices. This country has more than enough qualified people of high integrity who can perform those duties, if not better.

Because of your studious silence, we must begin to speculate about why you have been appointed in such a manner. We must begin to wonder what considerations have exchanged hands or pledges have been made to the appointing authorities.

We have to wonder whether your conduct has anything to do with the contents of the book "It Is Our Time To Eat". We must ask what it is you have been doing the last five years that you are scared of leaving office, or why President Kibaki feels he needs you in the office five more years when no one else has said so. Not Parliament. Not the Advisory Board.

We must ask why you are so desperate to keep these jobs, despite your high qualifications. This country specialises in obfuscation of facts to suit partisan interests and political expediency. But in your case, the illegality of your backdoor appointment and the dishonesty of your acceptance, is daylight fraud and breach of procedure. It reeks of political corruption, the kind you are charged with investigating.

'The arguments advanced in your favour by political sycophants cannot reverse the precedent set by the re-appointment of your colleague, Dr John Mutonyi. Your continuing occupation of those offices is insulting to the intelligence of Kenyans and a scar on your own character, integrity and social standing.

We look up to you to resign, step down or reject the appointments.

David Makali is a media consultant.

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