For Kenya's sake, Kenyatta and Odinga must stick to knowable truths

Friday November 24 2017

By LUIS FRANCESCHI
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It was 6-0, like those bad soccer matches between Manchester City and Crystal Palace, Barcelona and Alavés.

The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the validity of our October elections. Did the Court make the right decision?

Court decisions are always disgustingly annoying to the losing party. Why would the Supreme Court do that? Is this consistent with their September judgment?

Could the judges have been threatened or coerced to comply with the government, or did they just suffer from a guilty feeling of having nullified a valid August election?

Maina Kiai had put it in clear terms. He said “If the court is consistent, the October elections will be nullified.”

Was the court consistent? Could there be a legal consistency which is opposed to a political or contextual consistency?

It appears to me that the Court may have looked at the issue from a holistic point of view. In any case, we should wait for the judgment so as to examine their legal reasoning, and measure it against some objective parameters.

Today, there is a great deal of confusion in our public discourse about opinions, decisions and institutions. We give the same nominal value to court decisions and widespread social opinions. We also easily confuse institutions and actors.

If I like the Court’s decision, then the Court is good and the judges are heroes. If I do not like it the judges are goons and not only the Supreme Court is useless but the Constitution too, for it created a useless court.

If the judges change their stand, they were bought or coerced. If I win the elections, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is fair. If I lose, IEBC is unfair.

Social media has added fuel to the flames, and the vestiges of any possible objectivity has evaporated thanks to fake news.

Truth be told, there are serious problems with our electoral commission. It would be insincere to deny this fact. But can we have clean elections in such a corrupt environment? IEBC spent billions to close all the leaks, but not all gaps can be sealed because of the perverted human brain.

We are high on law and low on trust. We have all the laws in place but we have lost all trust in peoples, honesty and institutional integrity.

Kenya is not alone in this. The misapplication of Einstein’s relativity theory to the moral and ethical sphere triggered an interesting phenomenon.

DICTATORSHIP OF RELATIVISM

Albert Mohler says that the cultural impact of Einstein’s theory extended far beyond the laboratory or the science classroom. As the twentieth century unfolded, Mohler argues, “Einstein’s theory of relativity quickly became a symbol and catalyst for something very different — the development of moral relativism.”

Einstein was not amused when his theory of relativity was applied to the moral and ethical world, and he said so in 1937. Relativists cannot agree on any objective posture and are all the product of a subjective perception.

Relativism is not static, unmovable because it has no foundations; it is a shapeless and amorphous concept that accepts no immovable truth.

It affects reality deeper and deeper, until reason fights and rejects anything that is not relative. This is what Joseph Ratzinger defined as the dictatorship of relativism.

Although it seems petty or even silly, such essential contradictions have caused untold damage to society. In the past, such damage could be controlled or constrained to limited circles.

Today, with the advent of social media, such relativism has expanded beyond any reasonable boundaries. This explains the absurd growth of fake news. Truth matters no more, for it cannot be known.

My tweets, my posts are my truth; anything else, institutions, decisions or facts that do not fit my thinking are useless, false or irrelevant.

My relative opinions, unfounded in most cases, may become my truth, and there is trouble when such ideas are pegged to ethnicity.

TARGETED REMARKS

When this happens, anyone outside my ethnic circle is useless, irrelevant and ultimately false. Inhuman.

Men and women outside my ethnic circle become disposable and kill-able, and a mob can do it easily and mercilessly. Any politician who exploits ethnicity, expressly or tacitly, is playing with fire, and like I did when I was a child, I would never stop playing until I got burnt.

Kenya is being torn apart by irresponsible ethnic targeted remarks, jealousy and violence.

Inauguration Day could be make or break. It all depends on what course President Kenyatta decides to take regarding the repression of dissidents, and how far Nasa goes into propagating a constant state of protest.

The government must resist the temptation to go into repressive mode. The opposition should tone down abusive and scathing remarks.

Unless the President and Mr Odinga respect each other and agree to build Kenya together, the moral and eventual geographic split will be irreversible.

This may be the first objective truth Kenya has seen in a long time.

Dr Franceschi is the dean of Strathmore Law School. [email protected]; Twitter: @lgfranceschi