Saturday, March 9, 2013

How the mighty were brought down by voters

 

By PHILIP OCHIENG

Najib Balala, Nicholas Biwott, Robinson Githae, Margaret Kamar, Fred Kapondi, Martha Karua, Jebii Kilimo, Amos Kimunya, Mukhisa Kituyi, Mwangi Kiunjuri, Musikari Kombo, Sally Kosgei, Henry Kosgey, Joshua Kuttuny, Ephraim Maina, Danson Mungatana, John Mututho, Chirau Mwakwere, Harun Mwau, Charity Ngilu, William Ntimama, Crispus Okemo, Ayiecho Olweny, Sam Ongeri, Sam Poghisio, Bifwoli Wakoli … “How have the mighty fallen?”

That question has remained powerfully in my head ever since I read it in the Old Testament as a young boy. I have not checked the exact context. But it is powerfully reminiscent of Samuel who, according to the book, founded the ancient kingdom of Israel.

In accordance with the Levantine power arrangement of the time, it is the priestly messiah or “Judge” (Samuel) who anoints Saul as the royal messiah (King) and who, thereafter, sits on a higher rung of authority.

That is why, very soon, Samuel will take a decisive step to depose Saul because the king has perpetrated heinous crimes.

In this legend -- please note -- it is against the Lord God – not against the people – that Saul has transgressed.

That is why it is the Lord God who delivers the verdict, Samuel being but a divine messenger. For, in a theocracy, the secular state (the earthly government) is simply a department downstairs of the state religion.

Centuries ago

But, mercifully, we live in the wake of Western Europe’s liberation, many centuries ago, of the political state from the clutches of a pope sitting somewhere in the backwaters of Europe called Rome.

Thus, in a European backyard called Kenya, the people have long deposed the sacerdotal prelate as the priestly messiah.

Not the archbishop, but the people it is, who -- through a secular instrument called elections -- regularly appoint the kingly messiah and all his retinue of provincial satraps and court jesters. Thanks to the new constitution, it is the people who have sent home the individuals I have listed and many others.

In an important way, however, it is like the CEO simply sacking an employee without offering her or him a reason. All the individuals in my list are Christians. All read the Bible regularly. All know exactly why Israel prevailed on Samuel to dismiss Saul.

The intelligent ones know that the people have fired them for exactly the same reasons that Samuel fired Saul -- lies, prevarication, gossip, idle schemes, suborned witnesses, vanity, arrogance, cruelty, thievery, robbery and idolatry (worship of a graven image called money).

Political mchujo

But it would be much more useful to the nation if, on firing these individuals, the voters had a means of offering them a reason on the spot and if the voter is able to use the media to share that reason with you and me.

For this would then be recorded and prove useful to us during our next round of political mchujo.

Faced with failure by the Nzamba-Atsango Magna Carta to include a right by the people to recall an MP or governor or senator or women’s rep or even the president as soon as he or she commits an offence which demands a recall, the voting card should have space in which the voter states exactly why he or she is rejecting a candidate.

As for me, I will definitely miss the intellectual brilliance of Mukhisa Kituyi, the moral courage of Martha Karua and the social consciousness of Sam Poghisio.

But, for reasons I have often shared with you in this column, though the return of “Sonko” and Boni Khalwale appals me, I am happy to see the backs of Balala, Biwott, Kapondi, Kimunya, Kiunjuri, Kosgey, Kuttuny, Maina, Mungatana, Mwakwere, Mwau, Ngilu, Sunkuli and Wakoli.

In future polls, before you elect them to any post, please do a thorough check to ensure that this experience has taught them a lesson on what it meansto become a public leader.

philipochieng39@yahoo.com