By Moses Kuria
Today marks another sad milestone in the race for deconstruction of our democracy. The Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting to be Chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta appears good from far but it is actually far from good. I will attend this meeting to record for my children and grandchildren the events that culminated in the death of our democracy and institutionalization of dictatorship.
This will form additional chapters to the stories I give my children of how I was in the front line in the streets in 1990 during the Saba Saba demonstrations and the subsequent second liberation movement that ushered in multiparty democracy. It will add to the epic stories of how I joined others at a small room at Ufungamano in 1994 to launch the Citizens for National Convention in a struggle that took 16 years and culminated in the 2010 Constitution to which I actively contributed. And today more than ever before I will be at KICC to witness the flagging off ceremony for the reversal of those gains
Make no mistake. Today’s Parliamentary Group meeting is no ordinary event. Jubilee as a party met three weeks ago, for the first time since the 2017 elections. The process of removing ‘nuisance’ irritants from the path of ‘Dictatorship Express’ began. This journey culminates today. It will most likely take less than the 27 minutes that was allocated for the previous PG. But what is the story behind the story in this charade. There are four hidden agenda that we will launch today.
Firstly today is all about the Building Bridges Initiative. In contrast to 2010, we do not have a constitutional moment. Kenyans do not feel it. There is no oomph. The pregnant air of expectation and optimism that greeted the 2010 process is not there. The bipartisan and broad based support that made us work together as a nation is simply not there.
I recall co-heading the Communications Secretariat for 2010 with ODM’s Salim Lone while representing the PNU Alliance at that time. We were solidly behind Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga then. Today, Kenyans do not feel Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga as far the BBI is concerned. And I am in no way suggesting that all the intended changes are bad, but Kenyans simply are not in the mood. The economy is on its deathbed. Kenyans are hungry and broke. To make matters worse, the drafters of the BBI process forgot to add a section to legislate against COVID-19 so the pandemic could not have come at a worse time for the BBI. In this mix, the only safety net for the boring BBI is parliament. The ongoing purge is meant to secure that. Its over in the Senate.
Today we will have Amos Kimunya as the new Majority Leader who will move the BBI Bill in the National Assembly. We will have Muturi Kigano as the new Chair of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) who will scrutinize the BBI Bill at the Committee. And we will have Kanini Kega as the Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee that will pass a supplementary budget to divert the Ksh 57 Billion meant for Economic Stimulus and appropriate the same for a sham Referendum. That is the essence of today’s PG. For some reason this is such a high stakes game to be entrusted to Aden Duale, William Cheptumo and Kimani Ichungwa.
Secondly after this ‘Dictatorship Express’ will move to the hallowed corridors of justice at the Judiciary. The failure to appoint the 41 judges is a smokescreen. The real issue is the replacement of the Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga whose term ends in December this year-2020. A Deep State Chief Justice will be unveiled to not only agree to a repeat of the hiring process but also work on two other deliverables- The complete weaponisation of the criminal justice system and the politicization of the war against corruption. In the BBI Report, the Chief Justice will be removed from the Judicial Service Commission. This will facilitate full stranglehold of the Judiciary by the Deep State. With the 2022 General Elections in 2 years time, one will have to be out if their minds to want to file a petition in such a judiciary.
The third terminal for ‘Dictatorship Express’ will be at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The demonization of Chairman Wafula Chebukati and the two remaining commissioners will shortly begin in earnest. First, the BBI report will recommend that IEBC commissioners be picked by political parties. This has been the long held desire of Raila Odinga. He fervently fought to introduce the same in the 2016 Kiraitu-Orengo Committee of which I was a member. His irresistible force almost succeeded but encountered an immovable object in the person of President Uhuru Kenyatta who maintained, and rightly so that there politicization of an electoral commission is a recipe for chaos and disaster.
Today with the irresistible force working with the immovable object, they have closed ranks and agreed on politicization of the Elections Management Body. Parties will nominate commissioners. So we will have Uhuru Kenyatta nominating the Jubilee Commissioners after the total take-over of the Jubilee Party. Raila Odinga, Alfred Mutua, Kalonzo Musyoka, Gideon Moi and Isaac Ruto will do the sane for ODM, MCC, Wiper, KANU and CCM. Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula will be asked to jointly nominate one commissioner. You can now see why there is a mad rush to sign coalition and cooperation agreements. The new look IEBC must be in place before the Referendum. There is no way Wafula Chebukati and his measly IEBC of two commissioners will be allowed to steer the Referendum
Fourthly and finally, to ensure the first three stops for ‘Dictatorship Express’ are as smooth as possible, going forward we will see zero tolerance of any form of dissent. The militarization that has been carried out successfully in Nairobi County through the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) will be rolled out in other sectors in quick succession.
The NMS will be heralded as the epitome of efficiency with a view to making military rule not only a possible prospect but also a plausible alternative. With the most sensitive state organs being stewarded by the military and intelligence veterans, the scale up of this militarization will not pose a major challenge. It will not be surprising for example to see all political parties nominate the ‘super efficient’ ex-military Commissioners to the IEBC
So today, fellow Kenyans, as we go for the PG at KICC you can choose to get some popcorn and enjoy the show. Or you can be very worried for yourself, your children and our collective future. You can choose to rationalize everything using tribal and ethno-supremacist lenses like I have regrettably done in the past at the behest of others. If you think democracy is an imperfect system, try boarding ‘Dictatorship Express’.
Moses Kuria is the Current Member of Parliament for Gatundu South Constituency.