Daily Nation Opinion

Constitutional change process is putting country over party


BWIRE MUGOLLA

By BWIRE MUGOLLA
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Most idealist politicians, especially in times of crisis, aspire to the following maxim: Country over Party.

It has been a timeless rallying call for public officials to leave their differences behind and focus on what is really important.

It is the mindset needed in order to get a country out of the mud and onto the highway of progress.

It allowed the Allies to win World War II and the Americans to build enough pressure on the crooked President Nixon so that he resigned.

Yet we are witnessing right now here in Kenya a blazing example of the opposite. Instead of working for the public good, we have certain officials who are driven solely by egomania.

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The rollercoaster of news surrounding Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko over the last month has been a nightmare in this sense.

First, being the most flashy and wealth-taunting politician of Kenya today, he tried to evade justice by fleeing from the police.

This made it necessary to arrest him in a spectacular fashion, necessitating the use of helicopters and special police forces.

Once arrested, he requested bail. He had no problem to produce the astonishing Sh15 million in a matter of hours.

This should be grounds enough for a thorough investigation into his assets.

To complicate matters even further, it turns out that Governor Sonko’s decision not to nominate a deputy became a real headache.

What was considered “merely” a move to grab and hold as much power as possible developed into a real political conundrum.

As a suspect of graft, Sonko was barred by the Court from executing official functions or even entering his office.

But without a deputy, the helm of Nairobi was bereft of strong hands to steer it.

A dirty struggle for power ensued as a consequence. Now, in contempt of court orders, Sonko seems to have appointed a deputy.

I am sure this is not the last we will hear of this saga. It is like a horrible accident on a highway – it is disgusting to watch yet one cannot bring oneself to look away.

However, one thing is clear: The governor of Nairobi puts himself over party, county or country. His preoccupation is with himself and clinging to power at any cost. Woe unto the nation whose leaders act in such despicable ways! Are these the role models we want our children to look up to?

Fortunately, there are also other developments in our nation happening simultaneously.

If we look at the national level, we can see politicians of all sides of the political spectrum who are doing what is right and good for the future of the country.

They have understood that there is more at stake than their mere grip on power – the future of Kenya as a whole, unified and prosperous, is in their hands.

Thus, President Uhuru Kenyatta took the first, bold step and extended a hand of peace and reconciliation to his former rival and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The latter, setting ego and old wounds aside, accepted this outstretched hand and a brotherly handshake ensued – as all of us Kenyans are brothers and sisters!

This set the tone for a new era in national politics, in which the national interest triumphs over the personal or partisan.

Today, our leaders are guided by common interests and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is the greatest testament to that.

An independent commission came up with one goal: To listen to the challenges of the average Wanjiku, and propose solutions to fix these problems.

Now, we can see Jubilee Party and Orange Democratic Movement legislators work together to achieve the change Kenya desperately needs.

In sharp contrast to the chaos ruling Nairobi County’s government offices, politicians in the Senate and in the National Assembly are rising to the challenge.

It is hard work to translate amorphous recommendations of the commission of technocrats that is the BBI into actionable policy items.

But with politicians who are putting country over party, I have no doubt that they will be able to implement the modifications that will ensure a more prosperous and more united future for us all.





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