Here is the article of 20th May in the Daily Nation:
Why I Say No to the New Constitution
Today in Kenya, there is a crisis of writing a new constitution that is best explained by the words of the Russian revolutionary, V.I. Lenin – “one step forward, two steps back.”
Just writing a new constitution in Kenya is a giant step forward compared to the days when Charles Njonjo would have called it treason for which one would have been detained or eradicated. However, writing a new constitution has also taken two steps back when it cannot guarantee us the mother law we deserve.
Now it is official that the new constitution is not a people’s but coalition government’s project of, by and for coalition partners-in-sharing power and loot. But this distinction is no longer important to media, civil society, envoys or human rights organizations. To them, “the end justifies the means.” But by settling for a government constitution the making of which is not transparent, inclusive or fair, we now have a contaminated new constitution that will not deliver our dream of development, democracy and ethnic unity.
Having been detained, jailed and exiled for over twenty years because of fighting for a liberating and unifying constitution, why do I say no to the new constitution?
I say no because I believe it is the right thing to do and while the powerful may bulldoze the new constitution through with state resources, victory for right is nigh.
Traditionally, a constitution is a contract between rulers and the ruled. When faulty, such a contract is not sign-able except by those who sign Anglo-Leasings and Goldenbergs. As for faults being tiny, nothing kills like the tiniest HIV virus!
When we fought for a new constitution, it was not for a mono-eyed or bad constitution that would replace a worse and totally blind one. It was for a good, two-eyed constitution. It is now not right to ask me to choose between bad and worse, mono-eyed and blind, as if Kenyans don’t need or deserve a good, two-eyed constitution.
Unfortunately, Kenyans are Shabaan Bin Robert’s people of Kusadikika, who scorn, dismiss and laugh at anything perfect including a constitution because they are used to living with dictatorship, corruption and backwardness.
Some say we have waited so long for a new constitution that even a bad one is good enough as long as the one we have is worse! For fear of the good, we choose between lesser and greater evil. But contrary to retired Bishop Gitari, in philosophy, people don’t choose between lesser and greater evil, if good is possible. Even a constitution of principles has been sacrificed at the altar of 2012 elections.
Yet in Kenya, this is not new. Elites accepted one-party dictatorship because chaos in Somalia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda were worse.
We are urged to embrace an imperfect constitution because it is amendable later. But our new constitution is a space shuttle for carrying forty million Kenyans to the heaven of development. But if red signals are flashing, we cannot fix whatever is wrong after the shuttle has exploded in space, killed everybody and burnt up everything. A defective constitution is simply unacceptable.
When we said no to dictatorship, we were called enemies of State and detained. Today, for saying no we are also called enemies even by James Orengo who should know better!
When we fought for a new constitution, we never contemplated it would accommodate “mini majimbo” of Najjib Balala in ethnically identifiable counties or use “historical injustices” to resurrect “tribal” lands and justify probable ethnic cleansing again.
So what is my good constitution? One that will spare a chapter for the eradication of maxi or mini majimbo and negative ethnicity that it doesn’t even mention.
A good constitution should also declare war against poverty and inhuman capitalism that mothers all poverty and corruption.
Ultimately, a good constitution must have a chapter on corruption that has killed our development, renders the new constitution stillborn and rots everything it touches.
Finally, fate has put me and Moi together as it has Orengo and Njonjo and I will not flee heaven because I find Moi there.
We freed Kenya by saying no, not yes, to dictatorship. We shall free her again by saying another no.
Koigi wa Wamwere,
Chairman, Chama cha Mwananchi and author of Towards Genocide in Kenya, The Curse of Negative Ethnicity.