Respect Kenyan Aboriginal
After the "Orange
Win" - let true justice prevail
Nairobi, 22. 11. 2005 (WTN) - The Ogiek, the Watha, the Aweer, the Dahalo and
the Yaku are besides some smaller aboriginal hunter-gatherer communities and
the more or less extinct Jumbo People the original inhabitants of the land,
which is today known as the multi-nation state of Kenya. While the Bantu and
Nilotic speaking peoples, who form today's majority tribes, only arrived over
time in the lands of this country, the aboriginal people were oppressed and
deprived of their rights by the invading tribes, the European colonialists and
subsequently the neo-colonial governments as well as today's multi-national
corporations, who rule into the internal affairs of these peoples and withhold
from them not only any form of self-governance and self-determination but do
not allow even their equal stand as citizens of Kenya.
This is now the time when finally justice must be done to the first peoples of
Kenya. During the Bomas convention only the Ogiek had some limited access as
observers, while the Watha were - despite protests from the real people -
misrepresented by fake proxies and the Aweer, Dahalo and Yaku had not even
Ogiek, Watha, Aweer, Dahalo and Yaku are Nations within the international
boundaries of Kenya as a country. This must be fully respected in the upcoming
talks for a true constitution and the genuine representatives of the First
Nations of Kenya must have their say, receive the full respect as well as
equal standing and must be given the opportunity to reconstitute their rights
also in terms of their homelands.
Orange leads -
Orange Leaders celebrate -
Uhuru Kenyatta, Nagib Balala, Raila Ondinga
(pic: Frederick Onyango)
Heed the people's
Publication Date: 11/23/2005
Three months of hard and
aggressive referendum campaigns finally ended on Monday. Kenyans cast their
ballot to put the constitutional debate to a peaceful end. And they made their
verdict loud and clear and, most importantly, did so calmly and with dignity.
In all this, it is the voters -
the ordinary Kenyans - who deserve commendation. They turned out in large
numbers to express their views and ensure that the national task was
Now that the Electoral Commission
of Kenya has declared Orange the victor (with 3.5 million votes against
Banana's 2.5 million) and Banana has conceded defeat, it is time for
reconciliation and nation-building.
Untold energy, time and other
resources were poured into the campaigns. Emotions and passions ran high.
There were acrimonious exchanges. Tempers flared. Violence left eight people
dead and many injured.
But all that is now behind us.
What is critical is how to proceed in the search for a new governance charter.
It is a moment at which to look back and reflect on the long path to the
referendum and to draw some valuable lessons.
One, the referendum has shown that
Kenya's democracy has come of age. Much more enlightened, the voters are able
to make independent decisions irrespective of what their leaders say or think.
Despite cases of provocation,
cheating and intimidation, the people held their peace and were decisive in
their actions and choices.
The second lesson is that the
future of Kenya's politics lies on broad-based coalitions. No single group
ethnic or ideological - can go it alone when it comes to national leadership.
Similarly, leaders must be
sensitive to people's feelings and respect their views. The era when those in
authority forced their opinions on the people is long gone.
Any decision that touches on the
people's lives must be discussed with the people, not pushed down their
throats. Brute force, political demagoguery and abuse of financial might will
no longer guarantee results.
But, after the polls, the big
question remains: Where do we go from here? How do Kenyans come by a new
For the past 15 years, they have
fought hard to enact one because the current one is terribly wanting. After
Monday, the desire may prove stronger and more urgent than ever before,
especially given the elite's extremely self-interested sabotage of the
people's earlier initiative.
It seems difficult to imagine that
the people will want to continue with the Lancaster House constitution - one
imposed on them by the outgoing colonial regime in its own exploitative
interests and then systematically ruined by the post-independence governments
in their own tyrannical interests.
That is why the Government must
yet again make the first move - seizing the invitation offered by the the
victorious Orange faction - to the pressing question: What Is To Be Done? How
do we deliver ourselves from the extreme inadequacies of the present
After the resounding defeat of the
one it proposed in its stead, the Government is duty-bound to deliver another
acceptable to Wanjiku. That was one of the reasons that Kenyans voted for Narc
in the 2002 General Election.
Fortunately, we are not starting
from scratch. There are various documents, including the Bomas. Again, we have
learnt from the past experience that to rely solely on politicians to shepherd
the process is fraught with pitfalls.
Serious thought must be given to
how agreement can be struck on the contentious sections of the Bomas Draft or
what new approach, negotiated and inclusive, can bring this country to its
long cherished dream of a modern and equitable constitutional order.
The country needs a constitution
that is all-inclusive, one that serves and protects everybody's interests, one
that unites the people and, at the same time, celebrates diversity while
fostering economic prosperity. The referendum was not a competition just
between Orange and Banana. It was a call to the Government to heed the
people's voice on how they want to be governed.
have to return to the drawing board to get new laws
Story by EMMAN OMARI
Publication Date: 11/23/2005
Any efforts to revive the
constitutional review process in future will require fresh legislation because
the current Constitution of Kenya Review Act automatically repeals itself in
The Wako Draft, the Bomas
proposals, the Naivasha Accord by MPs and the Kilifi reports of Energy
Minister Simeon Nyachae's Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution will all
become part of the national archives. Even Mr Nyachae's House committee will
die with the Act. The country will continue to be governed by the current
Constitution, which has been amended several times.
Even the promise made by the
Orange camp during their campaigns that they would agitate for the Bomas Draft
requires another legislation to revive it.
The Constitution of Kenya Review
Commission will, by law, stand dissolved on December 22 – exactly 30 days
from yesterday's declaration of the rejection of the proposed constitution. On
the same day, the Act will also repeal itself and cease to exist in the Kenyan
During the one-month period, the
CKRC chairperson, Mrs Abida Ali-Aroni, and the secretary, Mr Patrick Lumumba,
are required to ensure that files and assets – including vehicles – are
transferred to the parent Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Finance Minister David Mwiraria is
required to determine the gratuity to be paid to commissioners and staff who
have been with the CKRC for more than three years.
Any money in the CKRC Fund that
will not have been spent will be transferred to the Consolidated Fund.
After the winding up of the CKRC,
any future initiative for another constitution could rest with President
Kibaki and, to some extent, Parliament.
The President has powers to
appoint commissions to review laws.
And if he does so under the
Commissions of Inquiry Act, such a move could be contested from all quarters.
Questions could also be raised on whether the commission had the power to
review the Constitution.
Politicians who have tasted the
people's power to reject a process that they do not own could shoot it down.
A second alternative would be to
convince the public and politicians to let the Law Reform Commission to drive
the process. Kenyans could be allowed to give their suggestions to the
commission. Although it appears to be a logical and less expensive
alternative, politicians are unlikely to accept it without a fight.
The question of what next for the
constitution is likely to be top of the agenda when Parliament resumes next
As a first option, MPs could agree
to initiate amendments to the present Constitution.
The MPs could also initiate a
motion to establish another committee to re-start the process. This would
require a common understanding from both sides.
Whichever direction the process
takes, it is now apparent that the result of the referendum will put the
business of constitution making on hold for some time.