By Jerry Okungu
Is Kenya slowly becoming ungovernable? If Parliament, the Judiciary and the presidency cannot have the last word then who will?
The situation in Kenya reminds me of a time when spouses started experiencing difficulties when female folk started wearing trousers, shirts and ties not to mention power suits. At that time, men who were reluctant to accept change were quick to remind their new rivals, who were the bosses- the men of the house in trousers.
What these men never realised was that once they chose to marry their class mates and working class at that, the war was lost. All they could do was to whine, grumble and drown themselves in cheap alcohol as the woman moved up the ladder by any means necessary.
The defiance Uhuru is facing as president was never thinkable 10 years ago. During Jomo Kenyatta or early Moi years, no junior judge would rule against executive order because that is what the dissolution of the Judicial Service Commission amounted to. That judge would not sleep in his house that night. In those days, the president was the law and the law was the president.
And his boys were quite alert to what was going on in parliament, the courts and public service. It was the reason every civil servant had a radio in the office for the1:00pm breaking news. This was the bulletin that sacked senior civil servants and installed fresh ones.
Jomo Kenyatta and Moi ruled Kenya with iron fists. They were the titular heads of the household called Kenya, period. Questioning their authority was inviting real trouble at the personal level.
Ten years ago, I was invited to Narok for a women leaders’ workshop. The sponsors wanted me to talk to the ladies on how to manage the media in an election year.
Since this was early 2002 when Section 2a had been removed from our constitution, people were getting bolder and bolder in questioning the presidency and other arms of government.
It was for this reason that one woman candidate from Dagoreti gave this analogy: that during Jomo Kenyatta’s time, no one dared look him in the eye.
In Moi’s time Kenyans could look him in the eye and would even touch him. However, the presidents after Moi would be insulted, abused and disobeyed and the presidents would do nothing about.
We saw these prophesies coming to pass in December 2002 when wananchi threw mud at Moi. We saw it countless times when Kibaki was under siege at State House in December 2007 when even his swearing in had to be done under the cover of darkness.
The problems Uhuru Kenyatta is currently facing have their roots in these early revolts that Kenyans took to mean new found freedom. When people are oppressed for a long time, the day they taste freedom they will never know their limits.
As for the JSC, Uhuru’s handlers blundered. They should have read the signs correctly. You see, this separation of powers should be taken much more seriously by the three pillars of government.
The president’s advisers should have noticed that whenever the Judiciary is put to task over an issue, they rush to a lower court to scuttle the process and embarrass the litigant. That is what they did to Gladys Shollei. They repeated the same twice to the National Assembly.
The Judiciary is alert to the fact that no junior judge will ever rule against their favour. That is why it would have been more prudent for the president to have tea with the CJ and the Speaker and give reconciliation a chance. He did not.
What now seems apparent is that President Uhuru Kenyatta has a soft spot for Justin Muturi and the National Assembly. Yes, when the Senate had a tiff with the National Assembly, the president took sides and signed into law a Bill that was in dispute. When parliament passed a controversial Bill, the president made it worse prompting nationwide demonstrations from media houses.
Now that the Judiciary has problems with the motions passed in the National Assembly, the president has chosen to disband the Judicial Service Commission!
The President must remember that even though there are three pillars of government, he is the father figure of this household called Kenya. As a father figure, he cannot afford to be unfair to any of his family members. All he needs is to be firm and fair. That is what the world needs in this day and age.