Mwalimu Mati: Ultimate crisis will be poll with no register

The Attorney General Amos Wako says the standoff between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki could lead to a constitutional crisis and precipitate early elections.

Ignore him dear Kenyans, he's just trying to scare the political class straight and to get them to see their common interest in the perpetuation of the grand coalition status quo.

The legal opinion of the chief legal adviser of the Government of Kenya is weighty but incomplete. The context is missing, and those who would vote in such early elections are not whom Amos Wako is concerned about. Opinion polls show that levels of public support and satisfaction with the grand coalition are at an all-time low.

An early election is actually what many Kenyans want. Kenyans are fed up with the quarreling, crooked, bloated government that resulted from the National Accord and are ready to vote the bums out from presidential to parliamentary levels.

The government, which Amos Wako works so loyally for, has failed to re-enfranchise Kenyans with their vote. The voters' register was nullified by amendments to the constitution in 2008 and the new interim election commission has done nothing to start the registration process since it was formally established in 2009.

The only Kenyans who have valid voter's cards are in Shinyalu and Bomachoge constituencies; and they number less than 100,000 out of the 15 million who should be able to vote.

The old voter's cards that so many Kenyans still keep safe at home, just in case, may as well be burnt as they are of no use to us anymore because Parliament invalidated them. You can't vote with the old cards; but Amos Wako has never mentioned that, has he?

As things stand in February 2010, all but 100,000 Kenyans cannot vote because we do not have a national voters register.

Instead of dwelling on conflict potentiality in the draft constitution, or even endlessly debating about whom between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga should discipline the many rotten ministers within the largest and most corrupt Cabinet in Kenyan history, Kenyans should be agitating for their existing constitutional right to vote to be immediately returned to them.

And the Attorney General if he is an honest legal adviser should be telling the political class that it has no option but to ensure immediate and comprehensive national voter registration to avoid the ultimate constitutional crisis — the collapse of the grand coalition government without a voter's register. This would then provide a basis for the democratic replacement of the grand coalition government which Kenyans no longer want.

With no voting mechanisms in place we are on a daily basis courting disaster as warlords reorganise themselves for the next shot at power — without a ballot. And all because we Kenyans have failed to demand the implementation of the National Accord to the letter and have started attending political rallies like sheep in ever increasing numbers to support the same tired politicians who took us to the brink of a precipice in 2007.

Wake up Kenyans, you cannot guarantee, and really have no stake in, the outcome of this game between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki. You can't win or break even — you must get out of the game.

This is not a constitutional crisis for ordinary Kenyans, it is a great opportunity for us to demand the right to vote and secure our democratic freedom of choice.

We should ignore Amos Wako's scare tactics. He's only trying to maintain the status quo he benefits from, a status quo in which Mwai Kibaki is even claimed to be eligible for a third term; or is it second term? Was Mwai Kibaki elected in the December 2007 presidential election?

Kenyans must have greater ambitions for their future than the tired leadership which Amos Wako, using sophistry, defends, and if we get the voter registration process completed as soon as possible we will be ready to elect a lean, clean, honest government for the Republic of Kenya. Keep the faith, change is coming.

Mati is the chief executive officer of Mars Group.

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