At this rate, we’ll soon have no country

Wednesday March 18 2020
BBI women

Building Bridges Initiative committee member Mr Amos Wako speaks during a public participation forum at the Laico Regency Hotel, in Nairobi. PHOTO| FRANCIS NDERITU| NATION MEDIA GROUP


In primary school we were taught that democracy is the rule of the people, by the people, for the people. As we sang that chorus, we were made aware that Kenya was a democracy.

We have elections every five years so that Kenyans can choose the leaders they think can best represent them. And if the leaders go to represent their own interests, the voters can remove them, as happened to Ferdinand Waititu, the former governor of Kiambu County.


So it was interesting to wake up one morning and find that the man Nairobi voters chose to represent their interests had sold them to the national government. Activist Okiya Omtatah rushed to court to ask, “under what law was that done? Is it constitutionally correct?”

Our Constitution is very big on public participation. After all, democracy is of the people. So it requires that for every major decision that the country takes, the people must be consulted.

We saw this when the courts nullified the Kiambu County Finance Act of 2013 due to the lack of public participation. This also happened to the Lamu coal plant after citizens lobbied against it.


But, unfortunately, Kenyans have not been successful in many other projects on which they were never consulted. For example, the passing of a proposed expressway through Uhuru Park.

When people complained, the government said it is only taking a few metres. The same happened to the Nairobi National Park. Citizens did not want the standard gauge railway passing through the world’s only wildlife park in a city.


But the government had its way and gave the go-ahead. The same happened with Huduma Namba.

I could go on and on, but what this government has consistently shown is that it is not for the people. And with some of the Nairobi County’s functions handed over to people voters didn’t entrust it to, it is neither a government by the people.

So we find ourselves held hostage by our leaders. The contract we have with them is the Constitution. But the President and Parliament have shown that they do not intend to honour the Constitution. We have a government gone rogue. The Executive and Legislature have defied the Judiciary — our last resort.

If the courts were to find the decision to move Nairobi County functions from the devolved unit to the national government unconstitutional, would the national government pay any attention?


What will it take for Kenyans to say enough is enough? Will we have a country by the time we are angry enough?

This is a scary time to be a Kenyan. It is one thing to be led by a corrupt government, but it is another to be led by a government that does not obey the rule of law. What prevents them from selling us off to, say, China? Assuming they haven't already?

As democracy dictates, if the people up there are not For us, By us and Of us, then legally they shouldn’t even be there.

Ms Mwende comments on social issues