Alex Gitura - Separating the myths from the facts

Mutahi Ngunyi’s sentiments published on Sunday 6th June, 2010 cannot pass unchallenged.

He enumerated a few reasons why he would rather vote against the proposed draft constitution which were rather unconvincing to say the least and at most misleading.

The first reason he gave for voting ‘NO’ is because according to him ‘NO’ is for stability and ‘YES’ is for change.

He said the country is currently stable but forgot that this ‘stability’ came about after a coalition government was cobbled together by Kofi Annan’s team after the country went through unprecedented post election violence.

It was put up as a stop-gap measure to allow the government to institute reforms including coming up with a new constitution under Agenda 4.

As time has proven, the coalition government that was created under unusual circumstances has proven untenable because of the constant fighting for political power among the political partners and intrigues of trying to undermine each other.

Does Ngunyi want this kind of arrangement to continue in perpetuity every time we have an election? Because this is what will happen if we choose to retain the current constitution which upholds an imperial presidency without checks and balances which every politician would die to fight for.

Perhaps, he fears change just like the political elite and landed aristocrats of this country who fear that the proposed constitution will affect the status quo which has seen them benefit tremendously at the expense of the masses.

Secondly, his true colours as un apologetic tribalist came out when he said that if ‘YES’ wins, all credit will go to the PM, Raila Odinga and he will consolidate support and ascend to the presidency.

Pray, what is wrong if Raila Odinga or any other person ascends to the presidency if he is chosen by a popular mandate?

In any case, this constitution is not about Raila, Uhuru, Kalonzo or Ruto but for posterity.

Another reason that Mutahi will vote ‘NO’ is because under Article 143(4) the proposed constitution will lift presidential immunity against prosecution when a sitting president
engages his government in crimes considered grave under the Geneva conventions like Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mutahi would rather an imperial president immune from prosecution.

Finally, the reason he will vote NO’ is because he thinks majimbo breeds ethnic acrimony.

The devolved government in the proposed draft was a compromise from a third-tier-system; majimbo (regional) government which would have complete autonomy as is the case with federal system of government. This is perhaps what he had in mind.

The economic advantages of a devolved government inter alia is that it will facilitate decentralization of state organs, their functions and services from the capital Nairobi to
the counties.

For example, issuance of birth certificates, title deeds and other services can be done at the county level instead of one going to Nairobi wasting time and money doing so.

It would be good for those given forums to give their opinions not to use the same forum
to mislead others.

As one reader posed, Mutahi Ngunyi has two months to listen to his conscience before
casting his vote.

Gitura write on social and political issues

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