The Burning land by peter E. Njoroge

Chapter 3

Pg 23 n 24

The Presidency of the republic of Kenya has always been a controversial office. In fact, the passage of the new constitution did not really address the issues that have plagued the highest office in the land. Perhaps, the country has become so used to the ideals that set up this office as to be resistant to any changes to it. Why is that? Trying to find the answer to this question is a monumental task, one best left to historians and political analysts. For I am neither, a simple writer bent towards a journey of literal enlightenment and the immortalization of our history.

However, there was a common belief that the office was imperial, having too much unsupervised powers. Perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered had this powers been used for good in pursuit of harmony, development and equity. But instead the incumbent presidents had misused them for their own selfish purposes and hence the widespread consensus that they must be trimmed. There have been several ways in which these powers have been misused and most involve gross abuse of human rights as a tool of amassing and keeping power and thereby subverting democracy.

There were rumors, that the first president used his powers to assassinate several people who did not concur with him on several issues. He did this with the help of the security agencies, a sign that they are merely instruments of the presidency rather than mechanisms to protect the people from those who would cause them harm. This particular president was credited with having led the political wing of the rebellion that saw Kenya gain self governance. For that the country gave him the honor of being the first president of our newly independent republic and hence many people were able to ignore, accusations made against him.

Moreover, the trend of wealth accumulation by leading politicians can be traced to him since his tenure was characterized by major acquisition of public land and other fiscal properties by himself and several of his minions. In fact, I risk a lot in saying this but the culture of economic impunity and public theft of public resources owes its root to him. His family ended up owning large tracts of prime land across the whole country, something that should raise eyebrows in a country where so many are squatters after loosing this same land to the white settlers.

Democracy in Kenya is a vague word made so again by our first president, who guided by some misdirected wisdom subverted the established system to consolidate power and thrust Kenya towards a dark age of single party hood. The independent Kenya had two major parties, KANU and KADU, and it’s the KADU compromise that enabled the setting up of a harmonious government. The government at independence was comprised of an executive, judiciary and a legislature comprising of two chambers.  However, this set up did not last long since the president soon convinced his allies to scrap the upper house of senate and bring an end to devolved government and in one stroke centralize all executive power and weaken the legislature.


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