They say when you fight without a risk, you win without honor. Nearly 3 years after post-elections violence that threatened to ruin Kenya – one of the most stable countries in Africa, Kenyans took a brave move to re-draft its constitution and let the citizenry have a say. The citizenry have given it a nod.
Inevitably, the pre-elections media coverage, mostly western, was awash with ‘reminders’ of how Kenya has got itself to the constitutional referendum. Listening to those on the ground and my Kenyan friends in diaspora, most of the coverage was no more than fear mongering – and so the elections day proved it. It was peaceful and people voted freely.
Today Kenya is on the verge attaining one of the best constitutions in Africa, if not in the world. The constitution really give power to the electorate – giving people a chance to participate in the whole democratic process and not only every five years when elections come. In the immediate aftermath of the elections, the Guardian’s Editorial summed up the what this constitution really means to the people of Kenya:
“…and yet the changes this piece of paper could make are potentially momentous. It would introduce an impeachable president, MPs recallable by their constituents, a land commission to look at historic injustices, an expanded bill of rights, a reformed judiciary. These are causes for which generations of opposition leaders have fought.
Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni once said of AU’s registration to protect Africa’s Internally Displaced Persons, “a piece of paper would not bring immediate relief to displaced women in Darfur.” This is true, and Kenya is currently at this stage. The first, and perhaps the most difficult hurdle, has been passed. Now the onus is on the government and the stakeholders to give meaning to this piece of registration.