Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is a New Constitution the best solution for Kenya's problems?

Kenya needs good leaders besides a good constitution
It’s encouraging that we are likely to have a new constitution that the Country has clamoured for, for many decades, but what bothers the citizens is the leader (s) who will govern according to its the tenets to better their interests.

Since a constitution is just a mere document stipulating routines of governance in any nation, the leader who is likely to rule under that constitution matters more than the constitution itself. Therefore, a good constitution under a good leadership is the best solution for the Country.

Many Kenyans despite being positive about the draft feels that we are not out of the woods yet. We have a well set kitchen with raw foodstuff and we need a cook (s).

After our Country attained independence in 1963, the massive administrative malpractices ranging from impunity, dictatorship, corruption and ethnicity from successive regimes was not as a result of a bad constitution but failures to focus on the interests of the nation. From the late Kenyatta, Moi and currently Kibaki, the running of country’s social, economic and political affairs has been lacklustre.

The massive violation on constitutional provisions due to poor leadership beginning from the President, the Cabinet and even the provincial administration created corruption, unemployment, ethnicity, hunger, dictatorship, insecurity, poverty and unbalanced economy in the Country.

This brings us to ask a very fundamental question: What will prevent future leaders from turning rogue on the new constitution? It adds value when we make rules and adhere to it.

As we prepare to usher a home grown constitution, what the nation wants is a leader who will swear true allegiance to protect, respect and defend it through actions not words and the sum total for this is to build a better Kenya for the present and future generations.

This is where citizens’ power must be exercised through the ballot. Our people must make informed choices to vote in leaders of character, integrity and values.
Proper vetting must be done on those who will parade themselves to lead us under the new constitution. This is the surest way of ensuring a better nation.
Without this, no matter how perfect the draft constitution may look, our Country will still continue to sink in the abyss. The myriad problems that bedevil us like: the poor economy, institutional crisis and ethnicity will not be resolved through a constitution only but by good leaders (politicians).
Just like when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments to guide his people, we need a Kenyan Moses who will lead our nation and safeguard our interests based on what is enshrined in the draft constitution to ensure justice and fairness for all.
We don’t want to see a situation similar to what is happening in Zimbabwe and Uganda where President Mugabe’s totalitarian regime has violated the country’s constitution several times to remain in power and in Uganda where Yoweri Museveni despite putting the Country on a better footing, has changed the constitution to make himself a life President.
The two examples represent a very pessimistic view to constitutional governance not only in Kenya but the African continent.
We have sung the song “change” for many decades and this change must come from reform minded leaders through the new constitution.
Joseph Lister Nyaringo,
New Jersey, USA
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