Respect for institutions or perfection of rituals in Institutions?
It is the responsibility of every citizen to question authority; whether that authority is elected or anointed.The questioning can be in form of fierce criticism, ridicule, sarcasm etc. So, if you are in in a church that you cannot ridicule or criticize your priest, I highly doubt whether you go to heaven. If you have a leader that you cannot openly criticize, you are doomed. If you have a leader who hates or is afraid of criticism, sack him before its too late.That is why i felt disappointed this week by the suspension of Nation Media Group Editor for criticizing the Uhuru’s Government performance.
Now, with that sovereign responsibility being vested on every citizen of all ranks and file, an assurance must be guaranteed that there wont be victimization by those in authority when they are questioned. There must be a guarantee that in times of disputes and disagreements, there is an arbitrator whom both parties consider to be neutral to adjudicate. That arbitrator at national level is the courts. That, after all other alternative dispute resolution avenues have failed, the courts can intervene to calm the storms.
In 2007, Orange Democratic Movement(ODM) refused to go to courts after the disputed elections on grounds that the Judiciary in Kenya was but an appendage of the executive.It is still a raging debate as to whether that claim was true. You have your opinion on the same. Personally, i have always asked myself: Do i need to hire a lawyer if I can buy the judge?
This week, Law Society of Kenya( LSK) went to High Court to challenge the attempt by the executive to have a bigger say on who becomes the Chief Justice(CJ) and the Deputy Chief Justice(DCJ) in the Judiciary. And in my private conversation I ask myself, what interest does the Executive have in the Judiciary? My critics will tell me that in USA, Obama has a say on who becomes the CJ in Supreme Court as well as in appointment of Federal Judges. That is an accomplished fact. No need for a debate. No need to substantiate the obvious.
In fact, that is the leeway that George W. Bush exploited to have his way on his campaign on global war on terrorism. Bush had loyal Judges in Federal Courts that supported his total war on terrorism. There is however, scanty evidence if any that Bush had influence on on the Supreme Court rulings regarding his controversial Anti terrorism laws.
Thus, comparing the US and Kenya is a fallacy of ecology and analogy. In the US, institutions work. In Kenya they don't. They are subject to manipulation from within and without. In the US, the president has a say on who becomes the CJ,but in the same US, the principle of separation of powers and the doctrine of checks and balances are alive and kicking. In Kenya, it is the exception rather than the norm. In the USA, the Executive appoints and the Legislature approves. But in the same US, the Legislature is not an extension of the Executive.
Thus, before my critics shout at me and engage in name calling personal vendetta that they have well mastered, let the world know that the amendments in Judicial Service Act (2012) that have been engineered by the executive are not patriotic. They are not in good faith. I'm not sure whether I will get Justice if I openly criticize the President and I am taken to courts that have his lieutenants. Where will I get my salvation? The current parliament as currently constituted is just but an appendage of the Executive. If Uhuru has his way in the Judiciary, who will check on him? Did my critics tell me that Kenyatta is a respecter of institutions? If for sure yes, which ones? A distinction must be made between respect for institutions and observance of rituals in those institutions. Uhuru in my view, is a guru in observing and performing rituals in institutions
Think of a priest wearing white robes to lead a congregation in a mass service, but the same priest does neither believe in the Bible he reads nor in the teachings thereof. That is what ritualism entails. That is the epitome in my president. That is what correctly defines him.
Surely, did we have to go to courts to seek a legal clarification on these amendments emanating from his office? Its absurd that there was no justification as to why the executive wants those powers in the first place. Do we need a legal interpretation as to why the Auditor General Office should be stripped of powers to hire and fire the staff under his jurisdiction? Do we need even to debate whether or not the military expenditure should be audited? When did we stoop that low?
My parting shot: Kenya is a polarized society and an attempt to interfere with the independence of the Judiciary is a recipe for chaos, violence, civil war and genocide. Good Evening