Broken Promises, Broken Dreams. I weep for my country
For donkey years, Kenyans waited for names of those involved in the Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg corruption scandals with bated breath in the same manner they waited for Ocampo’s list of ten suspects. But while Ocampo made true his promise by producing at least six names, the Government is yet to come clean on corruption and other pre-election promises.
With the appointment of KACC chairman Dr Patrick Lumumba, Kenyans thought the two corruption ghosts would be laid to rest. But very soon it became apparent that this would not be so. Instead of parading the suspects Ocampo style, a communication breakdown circus happened between KACC and the Attorney General’s office. And then something similar to a soap opera popped out of the blues.
The coalition partners took sides in defending and protecting their suspected colleagues and turned the whole excercise into a political charade.
For reasons best known to them, KACC called for amnesty by inviting suspects to return whatever they had stolen in exchange for freedom. One of the suspects, even had the audacity to give the Government conditions on which he could return whatever was in his possession. To date nothing has happened! It seems that some suspects in the Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg scandals are untouchable and very close to the Government’s heart.
Then came the drugs scandals in which names of legislators came up in Parliament. The comedy was such that legislators discussed themselves and even went out of their way to ensure their names were expunged from the report. Today, nothing has happened. At one point, former US ambassador Michael Ranneberger had a case in court for allegedly defaming some of our legislators.Yet in Coast Province most of the youth have turned into zombies right under the wings of the police, chiefs and MPS. The community lives in fear and can do nothing about it. Their security is at stake.
During the 2007 general election, political parties presented competing strategic directions and outlines of structures and policies they would put in place once they came to power.The key word during the election campaigns was “Manifesto”.
The Presidential candidates made key promises that sent Kenyans wild with hope and great expectations of a bright future.
The ODM manifesto was quite exciting. ODM pledged to address rampant corruption, which had bedevilled Kenya since independence and which the Kibaki government had failed to tackle inspite of the numerous promises it has made to do so.
“Of all the sins committed by our current political leaders, one that trancends all is their appetite for corruption,” noted the ODM Manifesto.
In governance, ODM promised to give the country a new constitution within six months of assuming power and of course the popular devolution. ODM would among other things, introduce parliamentary system of government, “where power will be shared and not concentrated in one person or office”. An ODM government would entrench the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, increase its funding and make provision for the domestication of all international treaties, which Kenya has ratified.
For thousands of wananchi attending rallies, salvation had come home to Kenya. They sang themselves hoarse and danced themselves lame from the sweet words flowing from the manifesto.”Kazi ianze” was the punchline.
“Wakenya msilale bado mapambano,” Otieno Kajwang led the choir in his symbolic flywhisk!
In similar rallies ODM-Kenya had an overriding theme. The ODM-K manifesto, launched at the Kamukunji grounds in November 2007 after its dramatic breakaway from ODM, was social welfare guided by the party’s five principles of Social Democracy: Government obligation to provide support for increase investment and productivity, High Returns, Equitable Distribution of Benefits, Rising Standards of Living and Free and Full exercise of civil rights and individual freedoms. Implementation of the outlined policies would result to a socio-political and economic “miracle”.
“We will put in place structures where our people have food on the table, savings in banks and investments,” said the ODM-K presidential candidate.
The main highlight of the manifesto was corruption and wastage of public resources which was underscored as the main cause of economic stagnation. Free primary school education and subsidised secondary school education would make education accessible.
Decentralisation and devolution would ensure autonomy of public structures thus curtailing the abuse of authority.
The punchline was “A 24-hour hour working nation and servant leadership”.
A subsequent mammoth “miracle” rally at Uhuru Park, Nairobi promised Kenyans the party leader would “pita katikati” of President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Then came PNU manifesto with “Hope for the Country”. The slogan led by the incumbent president was “Kazi Iendelee” or “Let the Work Continue!”The manifesto highlighted the Government achievements. Kibaki’s vision for second term was to enhance democracy and an equitable economy.
Based on the five-year performance by the Government, PNU believed it had fulfilled most of the pledges it had made to the electorate in 2002 campaign trail.
The 2007 PNU manifesto, a continuation of the Narc manifesto launched on November 10, 2006 was, “let us join hands and build on what we have achieved instead of experimenting with what you and I do not know”.
The manifesto emphasised the steady economic recovery and growth rate during the Narc reign headed by Kibaki and the adoption of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). It promised to continue what it had already stated – free secondary education after the implementation of free primary education immediately after assuming power in 2002.In 2002 Narc campaigns had run on the slogan – “zero tolerance to corruption”.
PNU manifesto pegged its devolution on the distribution of CDF and how to boost security in the country. Although the three manifestos had the common grounds of trying to meet the needs of Kenyans but through different methods, the bungled elections seems to have changed the destiny of the nation.The “come we stay” or Kofi Anan’s Coalition Government has been an uncomfortable marriage of broken promises in which the offended partner threatens to walk out inspite of the children. Although the coalition arrangement brought a semblance of peace, deep down are such deep grudges between the politicians that only few months to the next elections broken promises have taken over from pledges.
So the children have been born out of the union but all the parents can do is fight over the names – which child should be named after the maternal grandmother, aunt, sister, brother!
We have a new constitution but who will jumpstart it? We have a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission but who will listen to its recommendations?
The Coalition teams are using their privileged platforms to revenge on one another at the expense of peace and unity of purpose. Leaders have become experts at throwing tantrums as the children watch. Our leaders have become the terrible twos and threes – listening to nobody, fussing over nothing and selfishly demanding more and more…
According to an audit report released by the Africa Peace Forum and sponsored by International Development Research Centre, the Coalition Government continues to lack cohesion and is still perceived as two governments in one. Agenda 4 Item, considered the more critical to the future of Kenya is not getting the attention it deserves.The slow pace of reform is worrying. The quick pace of squabbles is impressive.
The greatest threat to reforms and to future is the lack of unity in the Coalition. Despite a new constitution, those who led the no campaigns have grouped in Parliament to ensure the reforms do not take place. Although when releasing the peace forum report NCIC commissioner Halakhe Waqio describes the Coalition Government as a unique event that occured in unexpected circumstances in a haven of peace, the deep rooted long term issues that were recognised as the cause of PEV violence remain largely unaddressed.
They promised us free education for Primary and Secondary schools. Are all our children in school? Our youth failed to make it in the “Kazi kwa Vijana” interviews because most had dropped out of school and did not meet the basic requirements. What about the donor money for education that was reportedly squandered according to IMF reports? Were our IDPs resettled or dumped in areas where they were rejected? They promised us better health only to recommend that the sick be locked up in isolation camps. Others flew abroad for treatment as Kenyans died in Government hospitals unattended, some frustrated by hostile and incompetent medics.
They promised to address historical injustices regarding land occupation? Are our squatters satisfied? They promised us security. But the Turkanas have been slaughtered like cows at a slaughterhouse. Is Isiolo in Kenya? Fishermen in Migingo and Ugingo islands have been murdered, locked up and beaten. Meanwhile the two presidents are eating together.
Oh! How I cry for my beloved country!
Through its ICT platform, the media fraternity has effectively used radio, television, print, mobile phones, internet and billboards to continually create awareness among the public. Just as the media was instrumental in huge voter turnout especially among the youth, they remain the only credible watchdog that will free this country from impunity. Only 28 per cent of Kenyans know about Agenda 4. But as the politicians go out of their way to ensure that the public remain ignorant of their rights, the media continues to regularly inform them of the fact that they can change their own future.
Over 90 per cent of Kenyans own radio. The media must team up to access the public through vernacular and mainstream stations.
According to a report, Media and National Accord, produced by People For Peace, we have the majority of ignorant Kenyans the media must reach.
Only then, shall we force the politicians to keep the promise. Only then shall Kenyans realise their dreams.