GAITHO: Let 2017 be the year we all make democracy guarantor of peace - Daily Nation

Let 2017 be the year we all make democracy guarantor of peace

Monday January 2 2017

Musalia Mudavadi

Musalia Mudavadi during his crowning as Luhya leader in Kakamega on December 31, 2016. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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I may be the eternal optimist, but it is with some trepidation that I wish all my readers a happy New Year.

If all goes according to schedule, Kenyans will in August be voting for their preferred president and county governor, as well as representatives to the Senate, National Assembly, and County Assembly.

It will, indeed, be a happy New Year if we navigate the democratic process in a peaceful, mature, and civilised way to the renewal of mandate for the incumbents or installation of alternative leaders.

However, we still have to keep our fingers crossed because our political classes have this well-established predilection to mess things up.

With just eight months to go, we cannot state with certainty that we will go to the polls on schedule.

It would not be beyond our political leaders on both sides of the divide to conspire to delay the General Election.

And even if we go to the polls on time, we cannot be sure that the process will be managed free of the usual chicanery so as to produce a credible outcome that will not incite angry challenges.

We can only hope and pray that a Senate, which so far has displayed much more maturity, can undo the damage wrought by the National Assembly so that the contentious electoral laws are remedied through dialogue and consensus rather than pushed through unilaterally by one side.

Consensus will save President Kenyatta the agony of having to append his signature to a defective and divisive law simply to placate the noisy Jubilee hordes pressurising him to prove his manhood by resisting pressure from the opposition.

The eyes of Kenyans are on Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro, Majority and Minority leaders Kithure Kindiki and Moses Wetang’ula, respectively, and Legal Affairs Committee chairman Amos Wako to deliver a consensus that will drive us with renewed hope into the new year and the electoral countdown.

The guiding principles from the Senate should be that leaders of the Legislative branch can exercise their mandate in the national interest independent of pressure and direction from the feuding ethnic chieftains that are their political bosses.

This might sound like news to the likes of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Majority Leader Aden Duale and Minority Leader Francis Nyenze, and the members who so dishonour the House with juvenile antics: the Legislature is one of the three equal pillars of our constitutional structures and it is not a vassal of the Executive or the Jubilee or Cord leadership.

But then we must reluctantly accept the fact that our houses of Parliament are simply a reflection of ourselves, and the fact is that we deserve the leaders we vote for.

Just this weekend we were treated to the primitive enthronement of ethnic chieftainship as Mr Musalia Mudavadi sought to cement his claim to a place at the Cord high table alongside fellow ethnic kingpins Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.

His main aim was to assume Luhya leadership at the expense of Mr Wetang’ula so he can sit in the troika that will select one among themselves to lead the challenge against the Uhuru Kenyatta-William Ruto ethnic power-sharing alliance.

The orchestrated public crowning under some fake poll came with the message that any Luhya who does not toe the Mudavadi line will be punished.

That was a message very much like what comes out of the Luo denizens who confer demi-god status on Mr Odinga and threaten violent retribution for all who do not toe the line.

It is not much different from the amorphous and self-appointed Kikuyu Council of Elders, which demands blind obeisance to President Kenyatta and is now purporting to dictate to the community a post-2017 political scenario in which Deputy President Ruto will be jettisoned.

And the principal of ethnic chieftains, of course, does not preclude Mr Ruto, who extracted an alliance from Mr Kenyatta that purported to guarantee safety and security for the Rift Valley Kikuyu, with the unstated threat that the assurance would be withdrawn if the pact did not hold.

Until we all stop worshipping Mr Kenyatta, Mr Odinga, Mr Ruto, Mr Mudavadi, or any other ethnic kingpin or warlord to whom we are supposed to owe fealty, we will never make our democracy the guarantor of peace and stability.

[email protected] @MachariaGaitho