Saturday, November 27, 2010

Is the implementation of the Constitution a political process?

Well i have been thinking, should politics be the principle guiding factor in the implementation of the Constitution. Politics has the potential to hold the process hostage.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2010.

The world commemorates the International Human Rights Day on 10.12.2010. This year's theme is 'Speak up Stop Discrimination'. The various streams include: Discrimination against indigenous people, migrants, minorities, people with disability, women and religious and racial discrimination.

In Kenya the Constitution now expressly prohibits discrimination.  Human dignity, inclusiveness, equality, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalised are part of our national values under Article 10 (2) b).  Article 27 provides for the right to equal treatment and freedom from discrimination.

I believe that our greatest challenge is to apply and enforce the safeguards in the constitution, to ensure that discrimination is eradicated. We live at a time when discrimination by the state and individual citizens is rampant. It is our role to work for a society where people are treated as people, as God sees them. I am reminded that God does not love me more than my neighbour, he paid the same price for all. I believe that this is the culture we should cultivate. It may take time but we will get there if we work together.

Follow what various intentional, national and regional organisations are doing to mark this day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Violence or Diplomacy: What should Kenyans embrace

Yesterday i indicated that the tide in Human Rights advocacy. In the past the Moi regime could only respond to demonstrations. But not with an offer to negotiate rather brutal force. My father was a victim during the Sabasaba (July 7)  day in 1992.

However if diplomacy is embraces citizens will also result to the rule of law. Today all that people know is to shout 'haki yetu' (our rights). Well it is positive since citizens are now keen to enforce their rights. But the disadvantage is that people have learnt the road to violence as the only sure way to enforce rights. Case in point is the ongoing killings in Kisii.

Therefore if human rights actors strongly embrace dialogue especially with the state, people will follow suit. People in Kisii will for example talk to suspected witch doctors and then if there is reasonable proof take the suspect to the police. At least i know that even God does tell us 'come let us reason together'.

Let us reason together as we fight for justice and good governance.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A new strategy to Human Rights advocacy

The struggle for a free society has in the past witnessed mass demonstrations that often turned bloody. Successive regimes were quick to result to violence. Over time citizens used force as the only sure way to express displeasure with the state. These were the days of torture chambers and riot police. I believe the climax of this sad history was the post-election violence of 2007/2008. The constitution now recognises the right to demonstrate and petition the state, and this is a progressive move. This approach was resulted to due to the state's attitude of using brutal force. Case in point is the hunger strike by Prof Wangari Maathai and other women on Uhuru Park.

However it is important to recognise that the tide in human rights advocacy is changing. Diplomacy is slowly taking centre stage. If we are to succeed in protecting the constitutional rights, we have to talk to one another. Non-violent action has to be our last result.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No room to extend parliament's term beyond August 2010

Does the Constitution allow the current national assembly to extend its term? This can only be answered through the sixth schedule. Clause 2 suspends certain provisions in Chapter 6 and 7. However the clause does state that the next elections must be held under the Constitution. Elections under the Constitution must be held in August 2010. The president, prime minister and members of parliament must vacate office in August to retire or seek re-election.