Do not stand by and watch yourself get enslaved

The current state of affairs scares me... I implore you to be scared too. Constitutions are everything in a democracy. Do not sit by and watch yourself be enslaved.

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Wanjiku,

The Constitution is everything in a constitutional democracy. Considering the hallowed space it occupies, it is a little depressing the casual manner in which you are approaching the inevitable constitutional review process.

You have surrendered the entire affair to politicians. And while it is true that constitutions and politics are bedfellows, please remember that the process doesn’t belong to them alone. You too, are a shareholder and, without a doubt, the most important one.

The politicians have suspended all reason to sacrifice the country’s future at the altar of individual aggrandisement. It’s all about the next election, and the one after that. No one seems to care about the long term future of this country anymore. 

You don’t need a prophetic tongue to predict that disaster waits. To leave the Republic’s future in the hands of the politician is akin to the proverbial surrender of the goat to the leopard’s custody. At his very best the politician is an ethnic entrepreneur and an intellectual whore. Like any other, his is motivated by self-interest. Expectations of piety from such a lowly fellow defy all logic. Politics is not a charity; when you lie down with dogs, do not be surprised when you come up with fleas. 

Do not be cheated, there are only two tribes in this country: those who have it and those who don’t. You, sadly, belong to the latter. You must remain on guard against the Wabenzi who are constantly preying on you to devour you. They no longer come with drums of war and despotic tendencies like the days of the old; it’s your mind that they are after. They will seduce you; ask you questions like your opinion matters, then do what they have always wanted. 

You against them

As Noam Chomsky told, control of thought is more important for governments that are free and popular than for despotic and military states. The logic is straightforward: a despotic state can control its domestic enemies by force, but as the state loses its weapon, other devices are required to prevent us – the ignorant masses – from interfering with public affairs, which are ‘none of our business’. We are to be observers, not participants; consumers of ideology as well as products, never the producers.  It is the only reason the Keroche bosses are in court for tax evasion while the CBA-NIC banks merger is exempted from tax. It’s the reason behind those absurd milk regulations that seek to prevent you from selling on retail; the poisoned maize meal on our shelves, and the reason Dr Ekuru Aukot is dismissed as a madman.  

Pardon my asking, but has any of you been approached for comment concerning the BBI? Last I checked it was aimed at collating views towards a solution for these problems that, after great consideration, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga diagnosed us to be suffering from. As I write, there are draft proposals. If they have neither spoken to you nor me, where have these proposals come from? I don’t know about you but I am a little sceptical about a fact finding mission that starts when the conveners have already decreed the answers.   

As for Punguza Mizigo campaign, while the draft bill needs a lot of fine tuning, you will be hard-pressed to find a more honest endeavour. Granted, you and I may be naïve and Dr Aukot too may be championing a selfish interest, but what I can promise you that while the motive may be ill, the logic is certainly sound. Sometimes it is prudent to set aside our reservations about the messenger and simply concentrate on understanding the message. 

Dr Aukot appeared on Point Blank where the host treated him with utter contempt. How can an ordinary man produce ideology? He barely focused on the contents of the Bill, instead employing every trick to ‘prove’ that it was political manoeuvre ahead of the 2022 presidential election and worse, that unlike more seasoned lawyer politicians, he (Aukot) didn’t know what he was doing. Be advised that the good lawyer was at the helm of the Constitution of Kenya making process. At the very least his Bill deserves an honest debate.

The current state of affairs scares me. I may not tell you how much, seeing that words are imperfect conduits of emotion. But I implore you to be scared too. Dear countrymen, constitutions are everything in a democracy. Do not sit by and watch yourself be enslaved. 

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