Law guarantees independence of commissions, let us respect that

Sunday August 13 2017

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati speaks at Bomas of Kenya on August 11, 2017. The matter of the IEBC is particularly relevant during these times. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati speaks at Bomas of Kenya on August 11, 2017. The matter of the IEBC is particularly relevant during these times. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DOMINIC WAMUGUNDA
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We have said these things many times before. We have come a long way in the growth of our democracy.

Those who were big enough do remember the days when we talked in whispers because we did not know who was listening.

The fundamental change all started with the courage of a few individual Kenyans who dared the government of the day.

Many suffered and some even died in the process. It is because of such that we are where we are.

MULTIPARTY DEMOCRACY

After the launch of the struggle for a multiparty democracy, we have never looked back.

Such processes do not happen in one day but we can look back and count our blessings.

It was at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s that the culmination of the struggle took shape and by the time we voted in 1992 there were several political parties – other than the ruling party – whose candidates were on the ballot.

Energies were immediately directed towards changing our independence constitution to a homemade one.

The government of the day did everything to resist those efforts but clearly it was an idea whose time had come and the match went on.

By 2002, some of the Kenyans who had been in opposition against the government of the 1980s and 1990s came into power and in spite of all the political maneuverers by 2010 we put in place our current Constitution crafted by ourselves.

INDEPENDENT INSTITUTIONS

It is this Constitution that established independent institutions aimed at supporting the growth of our democracy. Such institutions include the Judiciary, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission among others.

We all went through two referenda in five years and finally agreed on the establishment of these institutions the moment we agreed on the new Constitution. Why then do some Kenyans not believe in the work they have otherwise been respected for in the past?

The matter of the IEBC is particularly relevant during these times.

The team of commissioners that were before these ones – who had been agreed upon by all the stake holders – were ejected out of office in a rather acrimonious manner.

This new team was obviously also agreed upon by all concerned political players.

Why then would senior politicians not allow the Commission to independently do its work?

One of the most important realities that all of us must come to terms with is not how great any individual politician or political party is but how great every single Kenyan is and how important and paramount Kenya as a Nation is.

Anyone who tries to disrupt the peace that Kenyans have enjoyed and wish to continue enjoying stands cursed.

Writer is Dean of Students at the University of Nairobi [email protected]