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Jubilee made NRM popular by banning it

Friday February 02 2018
DOLPIC

National Resistance Movement General Miguna Miguna addresses the media at Okoa Kenya offices in Nairobi on January 24, 2018, condemning the county government for closing Uhuru Park to prevent them from holding an event. The NRM has been outlawed by the national government. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By GABRIEL DOLAN

The much-anticipated Uhuru Park 'swearing-in' of Raila Odinga passed off peacefully but Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i is reluctant to accept and move on.

The decision to withdraw police and allow the public to enter the park was prudent and conciliatory.

Thousands of Kenyans showed that left alone, they can assemble peacefully and steward themselves.

Had a similar decision been made in November when Mr Odinga returned from abroad, countless lives and livelihoods would have been saved.

MEDIA SHUTDOWN
However, Jubilee government appears to have an extraordinary ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory due to its acidic tendency to flex its muscles and seek revenge.

Instead of taking the plaudits for their discretion, they shot themselves in the foot by shutting down three independent news channels and allowing KBC and K24, the Kenyatta family channel, to proceed and report on everything but the Uhuru Park event.

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It was like rolling back the clock to the Nyayo era. Mr Daniel Moi must have felt vindicated and rejuvenated.

REPRESSION
The repression has not ended there, with the CS branding the National Resistance Movement (NRM) a proscribed organisation like Al-Shabaab and Chinkororo and later announcing that the TV stations will remain closed.

Further threats suggest that you risk arrest for watching these news channels on YouTube.

Perhaps an Internet shutdown is not beyond conjecture.

Jubilee has constantly demonstrated its contempt for the media and, in the process, for the Constitution.

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, in a recently-posted tweet, offered to give Dr Matiang’i “free lessons on critical provisions of the Constitution that pertain to his docket”.

However, the CS is unlikely to take up that generous offer.

CONSTITUTION
The disrespect for the rule of law and the rights of citizens stems from the fact that there is not one figure in the Jubilee team who contributed a single iota to the making of the 2010 Constitution.

Where were they when the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission visited the grassroots?

How many of them sat for endless days at the Bomas of Kenya?

The truth is most of them are products and beneficiaries of the flawed Nyayo era and were obstacles as the public clamoured for change.

COURT CASES
Jubilee may not hold the Constitution in high regard but the Constitution and the courts will still insist on compliance and it might be advisable for the Interior Ministry to get instruction from Dr Mutunga if it is not forthcoming from their own legal advisor, Attorney-General Githu Muigai.

Put another way, the more force the Jubilee government uses against its own citizens, and the more Kenyans are denied their freedoms, the greater will be the appeal of any resistance movement.

Instead of putting an end to a movement, or rather an idea, Dr Matiang’i will be just adding to its adherents.

NYAYO ERA

Worse still, the government will most likely end up paying out billions in court fees and fines for its illegal behaviour, money that should be used for its promised development agenda.

One wonders also how this fits in with the commitment to unite the country after the extended election period.

The draconian Nyayo tactics will not be tolerated in 21st century Kenya.

Jubilee leaders should acknowledge this or they will end up digging their own graves.

Fr Dolan is a Catholic priest based in Mombasa. [email protected] @GabrielDolan1

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