Respect Kenyan Aboriginal Peoples
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 been invited.
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.
leads - Final Tally
Orange Leaders celebrate -
Uhuru Kenyatta, Najib Balala, Raila Ondinga
(pic: Frederick Onyango)
Heed the people's wishes
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 discharged successfully.
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
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
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 constitution?
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
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
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 Constitution?
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
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
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.
Kenyans 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 30 days.
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 statutes.
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
Any money in the CKRC
Fund that will not have been spent will be transferred to the
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 Tuesday.
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.