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Murkomen links woes to defending Constitution

Wednesday May 20 2020

JUBILEE RUTO ALLIES

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JULIUS SIGEI
By JULIUS SIGEI
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You have been at the heart of government virtually all your political career, enjoying State power and its largess. How do you feel finding yourself in the current situation?

I have been at the helm of Jubilee politics since 2012 when Prof Kithure Kindiki and I were engaged to craft the Jubilee coalition agreement. Still, throughout that period, we fought for the mandate of the Senate all the way to the Supreme Court.

Even then, I never acted in bad faith. We held meetings with the President in Mombasa, at State House, and other places where I strongly defended the Senate and devolution. All this put me in trouble with the President. So I have always fought for what I believe in.

Some would say that you actually authored your own downfall. Why did you choose to fly too close to the sun?

I have seen the image of Daedalus and Icarus being used to explain my situation. Only if you are a supporter of dictatorship and absolute power can you use that analogy.

It is not a befitting image, because our proverbial sun is the Constitution. There are those who say that I should have defended the position of Jubilee at all times, but there is no collective responsibility in violating the Constitution. Party discipline and loyalty are subordinate to the Constitution.

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I have seen that even the media has reduced our unlawful ouster to my losing cars, employees and other personal benefits. Okay, we all need money, but I am happy to lose it for what I believe in. If we all voted with our selfish gain in mind, what country will we have? I made a conscious choice to stand for the Constitution.

You obviously have interacted with both the President and the DP. What is the fundamental difference between the two leaders?

I don’t want to comment on this. But, well, you know they are people of different backgrounds and are unique in their own ways. Naturally, Ruto is a people person who has a lot of patience. He is home with the people out there.

You have said that Parliament is dead. What do you mean?

A lot of harm can happen if we are not careful with a pliable Parliament. But it is not just Parliament that is under siege. The respect for independent institutions — the Judiciary and constitutional commissions — is at its lowest. When did you last hear of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights? Where were they during the Kariobangi evictions? I don’t think that the Senate, for instance, can be resuscitated. It is being buried with senators as undertakers. What does it benefit people like James Orengo who were rightly celebrated for their fight for democracy in the past only for them to come and sanitise what they fought against all along? It is unbelievable that Kang’ata, who was expelled from university, can be an Okiki Amayo of our era (the Kanu official who was a terror to politicians in the one-party era).

We have been in semi-lockdown for nearly two months. What’s the exit strategy, as the pandemic may be with us for the long haul?

I have read literature on this disease globally, nobody seems to have the answer to this question. If the World Health Organization is right, then we will have to change the way we live and work fundamentally. The future depends on whether we will have a vaccine and how soon.

Governments will need to strategise, but not in the manner that is being done here where a small clique of the Executive thinks only it has a solution to this problem. Going forward, the next President of Kenya, be they Ruto or someone else, will have to deal with the adverse effects of Covid -19.

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