Third Eye

Arrest of senators drama unnecessary

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 00:00 |
A senate sitting on November 5, 2019

There is documented evidence that resource allocation has been the cause of conflict in many parts of Africa, including Kenya.

This has been largely attributed to self-interest among leaders as they try to tackle poverty and under-development in their countries.

A commission set up to investigate the 2007/8 post-election conflict  in Kenya blamed it on four factors.

First, is the personalisation of presidential power and the deliberate weakening of public institutions since independence.

Second, is land ownership and inequalities among communities in Kenya.

Third, is the use of political violence by leaders that has gone on without sanction for a long time, thus creating a culture of impunity.

Lastly, the commission identified the presence of a large number of economically poor, deprived youth who are easily mobilised to create violence.

There is also the grievance around marginalisation touching on resource distribution.

The enactment of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution cured some of these challenges by entrenchment  of what was dubbed the Agenda Four reforms implemented mostly during President Mwai Kibaki’s second term.

One of the remedies was introduction of a devolved system of governance and a highly expanded — and celebrated — Bill of Rights both of which were calculated to ensure equitable resource sharing and protection of individual freedoms.

This would probably explain the not unexpected show of emotions following the arrest of three lawmakers on the day the Senate was taking a critical vote on sharing of revenue among counties.

One of the most notable refrains of the 2010 Constitution is its emphasis on separation of powers between the three arms of government in an environment of mutual co-operation. 

We are not privy to the nitty-gritty of the investigations on alleged violations committed by the senators, but the protests their arrests triggered exposed our fragility and mutual suspicions.

The ugly theatrics were avoidable. And this calls for responsibility by both sides.

We are, for the umpteenth time, reminding our leaders that the country is currently engaged in the fight against the Covid-19, which has already claimed many lives and thrown thousands of Kenyans out of work. This is the wrong time for unnecessary distractions.

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