Mutahi Ngunyi is definitely right when he says that he is anti-reform. His articles over the last two weeks have left not doubt in anyone’s mind. That said, I shall restrict my commentary to the article published in the Sunday Nation of May 30th 2010.
It is all too well for Mutahi to educate us on why we need to focus on the spirit of the law and that we do not refuse. But to tell us that the spirit of the law fails to encapsulate the letter of that law I find rather mischievous a trail of thought. To say that its spirit is dangerous and deceitful is at best misleading.
This constitution guarantees the rights of all citizens. Most importantly, this draft seeks to include everyone in the political process. In this sense, the distribution of resources (politics) will conducted in a manner that will ensure that everyone has their hand on the table. Therefore, to a great extent, the document not only makes the lives of Kenyans better, it also guarantees Mutahi’s children peace and stability. it is not lost to us that we have mostly seen violence in this country only during elections. This is because so many of us have been left out of the process. This constitution will allow us to be part of that process. The constitution will guarantee free and fair elections which will also help us avoid the scenario that led to the butchering of over 1,000 Kenyans and the wanton destruction of property.
Mutahi’s argument that this country fought because of the dominance of the Gema community is surprising. This country has fought long and hard for a new constitution. What we have been fighting for is a system of government that is responsive to the needs of the people. We have been fighting for justice and equality above the law. We have been fighting for accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs. We want elections that are free and fair. We want better land management policies. And if it escapes Mutahi’s mind, I dare remind him that that battle has been fought by all and sundry. Wealthy fellows as the Raila Odinga’s , Kenneth Matiba’s and Charles Rubia’s of this world and the hitherto pauper’s in Kiraitu Murungi, Martha Karua, Koigi wa Wamwere and Rev. Njoya amongst others. Many an ordinary Kenyan have lost their lives in this struggle as have others like Bishop Muge.
For Mutahi to suggest that the idea of a 50% plus one vote is political nonsense baffles me. His worry being that since the Gema community is ‘dominant’, the presidency will reside there or with what he calls ‘dominant’ nations. I find this rather a reckless train of thought. What would he rather we do? Do he propose a rotational presidency or should we enact an affirmative action in the election of the president? If the current statistics and recent history are anything to go by, there is no possibility that a single community or a loose grouping of a few can possibly elect a President. By requiring that the president-elect garner 50% plus one vote and that he further has to acquire at least 25% of the votes cast in half of the 47 counties, the constitution guards against the same fear Mutahi seems to be perpetuating. Indeed, this constitution will actually ensure that any person who is elected president be he from the Gema community or not, which to me is irrelevant, will actually have to have nationwide support.
I can’t quite understand Mutahi. He saya that he will vote No because this constitution ‘…antagonizes all with childish naivety’. He lists the Armed Forces, the Provincial Administration, the Judiciary, the Attorney-General and the land barons. Mutahi’s argument lacks taste when he argues that all these persons will work to defeat the cause of the constitution. The people of Kenya have spoken for twenty years and everyone has heard. Even fellows like Kalonzo Musyoka who have hitherto been most loyal supporters of the former president Moi and his regime have now understood that the Kenyan people are hell-bent on change. We want a whole new Kenya.
What surprises me the most is his last argument. To say he is casting his vote in protest to Kibaki and Raila because they have blood in their hands is absolute nonsense. Who in this country can claim innocence? Who is not guilty of an offence of omission of commission that led to the loss of blood in this country? Is Mutahi, beyond reproach, like Caesar’s wife? We who acknowledge that jut like Raila and Kibaki have blood on our hands wish to atone our sins at the altar of political sacrifice. We go to the referendum to vote for this draft because it is perfect but rather because we believe that it is everyone’s sacrifice that will enable this country to move forward. We shall atone our sins by ensuring that this country shall never go through such a dark patch ever again.
And finally for Mutahi; My name is Stanley Kamau, citizen number 23936476. I am previously from the Gema Nation, before becoming and Kenyan. And my vote is a big fat Yes. And trust me, I also find no need to wait till August 4. I want to vote Yes and move to a bold new Kenya.