Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kenya's Young MPs have failed to nurture a new political order

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
This is how Francis Imbuga, a Kenyan playwright captures the events that are unfolding in our Country in his Play Betrayal in the City, “ it was better while we waited, we have killed our past and are busy killing the future.”

After nearly 20 years of acrimonious debate for a new constitutional dispensation, Parliament passed the draft constitution that will be subjected to a national referendum by July 2010.

Contrary to this positive stride, a section of young MPs, who are supposed to be torchbearers to foster a new social, political and economic order led by the Minster for Higher education honourable William Ruto have decided to mobilize Kenyans to reject the draft constitution.

Ruto’s “no” line up includes: Eugene Wamalwa, Isaac Ruto, Cyrus Jirongo, Joshua Kutuny and Peter Munya to mention but a few. They all have a democratic right to accept or reject the constitution, but their timing is suspect and sinister.
This line up reflects that young people in political circles want our Country to remain in the old order by being ardent protectors of the status quo instead of being catalysts for change and transformative leadership. I’m convinced that majority of young leaders in our Country are more ethnically inclined, self centred and therefore worse than the older politicians.

Last week, a media Columnist, Mr. Barrack Muluka highlighted how Mr.Eugene Wamalwa, who is also MP for Saboti and one of the youngest MPs in Parliament, urging his community in a vernacular radio, to vote for him so he will get the opportunity to sleep in State House. The legislator is now in the league of President Moi’s political students, William Ruto, Cyrus Jirongo and Isaac Ruto of the YK92 fame. He has joined the duo who sneaked Moi back to power in 1992, not for the Cockerel but to mobilize Kenyans to reject the draft constitution. What a shame!

By Cyrus Jirongo and William Ruto joining their political mentor former President Moi, in the “ no” camp over the draft constitution, they are sending a message to Kenyans that Kanu’s old styles of running national affairs is blossoming back in full throttle through young leaders.

This is not the first time young leaders have led Kenyans down. In the last elections, Uhuru Kenyatta dethroned himself from leader of official opposition and decided to support Kibaki’s re- election. The Gatundu South MP left about 1.8 Million Kenyans who voted for him in 2002 in suspense and also subjected multiparty politics in dire straits. This was selfish, egocentric and a lack of principles in leadership.

We are tired of leaders who are lackadaisical on issues of national importance but ready to shout when their comfort zones are threatened. Some have become venomous while in their tribal backyards and what comes out of their mouth is incitement, hate and sowing seeds of discord which is a recipe for chaos in our ethnically diverse nation. They have forgotten the rough and tumble Kenyans went through in early 2008.

All politics is local but it’s irrelevant for those with national leadership ambitions to concentrate in their ethnic enclaves. If William Ruto wants to endear himself nationally, he must articulate the interest of all Kenyans, instead of behaving as if he loves his Kalenjin people more than God who created them. Dragging his differences with the Prime Minister to the entire Kalenjin community does not make sense either.

As a young person, I will be the last person to advocate for leadership change or support some one based on their age. One can be 100 years and still stand tall on issues beneficial for the Kenyan people. After all, except honourable John Michuki, majority of the older generation leaders are supporting the new draft constitution which sends a very strong message that they want to bequeath a good country to the young generation. On the other side of the ledger, I’m not trying to imply that all young legislators (MPs) in Kenya are sympathizers of the status quo. There are those who have done very well.

I urge our young legislators to learn from President Obama, whose administration has seized the opportunity to reform key institutions in the US like Heath Care which defeated many presidents before him. On global transformation, he recently unveiled a policy with a target to combat nuclear proliferation as well as a focus to change America’s foreign policy. By and large, he is focusing for greater achievements that reflect a new social, political, and economic order for America.

In Kenya, we have sung “change” for many decades and now we must ignore the young or the old who want to derail us from achieving this end. In fact, many of those now rejecting the new constitutional are doing so to settle political scores or for egocentric reasons.

We all contend that the draft constitution is not free from imperfections and will be amended as needed during the implementation stage. After all; our laws are not cast on stones. Jesus came and was accused of violating the laws of Moses, when he taught on the new Covenant. We have closed the Red Sea, and we are swiftly heading to the Promised Land. Let us not be detoured or derailed Kenyans, let us vote yes for our future and the future of our children.
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