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KENYA, POLITICALLY FOOLISH

Civil society must block robbery by political elite

Story by CABRAL PINTO
Publication Date: 4/19/2008

It would be politically foolish to expect the grand coalition to be a platform for genuine reforms. 

Similarly, it would be foolish not to see the opportunities it presents for consistent agitation for reforms.

Five areas of reform that need attention are: resettlement of internal refugees here and in Uganda; constitutional reform and establishment of the Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and National Healing Commission and implementation of its recommendations.

Others are monitoring, documenting and exposing corruption and Kenya’s relations with the international community, a euphemism for dominant foreign interests.

 Some civil society organisations have announced that they will act as the political opposition to the grand coalition.

IF THEY ARE SERIOUS in their mission, they should prioritise these areas of reform and base their agitation, advocacy and activism on them. 

They will also need to be proactive, innovative, courageous, consistent and tireless.

These civil society should insist on a definite time-frame within which the refugees will be resettled. 

The organisations should bear in mind that the internally displaced population is over a million people since the Kibaki-Narc regime did not resettle victims of the state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of 1991-2, 1997 and 1998.

They should also ensure that the unfinished business of constitution-making is closed and Kenya has a new constitution. 

Luckily, the country need not start from a clean slate. The grand coalition needs to be reminded of the Naivasha accords that reflected the consensus by the political parties on amendments to the Bomas Draft. 

The accords should form a basis of a draft that can be quickly debated, improved and a schedule of implementation agreed upon.
 
The grand coalition can also use the  post-Bomas draft in which Prof Yash Ghai has critiqued the Bomas one and others crafted by Kenyans. 

Prof Ghai draft constitution is yet another that can be a basis of a road map to a final document.

THE TRUTH, JUSTICE, Reconciliation and National Healing Commission must never become a cover up for all historical grievances.

The civil society should prepare to mount a parallel team  if convinced that the grand coalition one will not result in peace with truth and justice for the country.
 
A commission that becomes a cover up for all historical grievances is a sure recipe for monumental political explosions next time.

It is worth remembering that while the Goldenberg Commission was sitting and hearing evidence of corruption the Anglo-Leasing scam was incredibly under way. 

Civil society must make sure that the grand coalition does not rob us with our eyes wide open. 

Deals such as the Safaricom IPO, the privatisation of the Grand Regency among others should the subject of continuous monitoring, documentation and publicity. 

Indeed, the grand coalition may only be grand in its collaboration on grand graft. 

Civil society groups have done very little monitoring of the economic, military, social, cultural and political havoc visited on the country by foreign interests. 

The relations and connections between the grand coalition and the foreign interests that harm Kenyan dreams must be exposed. 

BESIDES, THE HYPOCRISY, PERFIDY, racism and double standards of these foreign interests must be made known and repeated ad nauseam to Wanjiku.

But the agitation, advocacy and activism these organisations intend to undertake will only be politically useful if pegged to the overall project of capturing the state from the grand coalition. 

This is fundamentally a political project and requires a political home in a political party or parties of reforms. 

Lessons that these groups have learnt from past collaborations with political parties have surely taught them how to distinguish between parties of reform from those that pay lip service to change. 

This time round collaboration must be about the creation, nurturing and consolidation of innovative and transformative Kenyan leaders at all levels of our society. 

 
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About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.

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