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Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) leaders addressing the press on December 22, 2016 where they called for street demos to protest passed poll laws. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Kenya Daily Nation reported today that the Kenyan opposition leaders were planning to call for mass action to protest the electoral laws passed by both the parliament and Senate. The opposition leaders were on nation TV claiming that the even the Senate vote was rigged because apparently one senator voted on behalf of another. Never mind that in that vote 26 counties voted to support the amendments against 10. Clearly even if all those absent voted against it, the amendments would have been passed. It is also notable that majority of those who gave their views to the senate elect committee on this amendment supported the amendment and only differed on the kind of backup needed. It is therefore, clear that the motive of the opposition leaders is to get power at all cost and for this reason they must be opposed.

There is a price to pay for committing to follow democratic principles. For example, when the Americans voted for Donald Trump he could not be prevented from becoming president and implementing his political agenda as long as that agenda is within the constitution. If he fails to follow the constitution the citizens have a right to sue. The Kenyan opposition need to know they are “the opposition.” The Jubilee Government happen to control both the Parliament and the Senate. That is not in dispute. They therefore, have a constitutional right to use their tyranny of numbers to push their agenda forward. It is clear on the other hand that the motive of the opposition is to make the country ungovernable and then blame the resulting chaos on the government. It is undemocratic to call for mass action against the National Assembly majority for exercising their constitution right and mandate. If the country is to be governed by mass action then there is no point of having elections in the first place. If the opposition was to win the election and Jubilee called for mass action to reject their legislative agenda then we could have anarchy.

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It is time for the opposition leaders to grow up and for the people of Kenya to reject their brand of deadly politics. These leaders are calling for mass action well aware that the country is divided and that if one side hold mass action the other will respond. What is likely to ensue in this case is chaos. This is a route the country has gone through many times before resulting in unnecessary loss of life. It is selfish and must be rejected by all peace loving Kenyans.

It is lack of awareness not to appreciate that the country has moved on from the dark days of dictatorship. We now have independent judiciary. That is only the reason why people like Governor Joho can challenge the president openly even when they know their facts are wrong. I urge all Kenyans to start asking questions instead of following blindly. I challenge all Kenyans to explore cases if any where the Uhuru government has rejected a court ruling and acted to the contrary despite the fact that many court rulings have gone against government . What I have personally observed is that the Uhuru government has appealed decisions that have gone against it and abided by supreme court rulings. There is therefore, no legal or moral basis for the opposition to call for mass action instead of going to court. The only time mass action against the government is justified in Kenya in this era is if the government defies court orders.

By Rev. Dr.   Muhia Karanja of Toronto Canada

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  1. Time says

    I beg to disagree. Sometimes mass action is necessary as long as it is peaceful. You give the example of the USA when Trump won yet you have forgotten to mention that there has been mass action since he won with people protesting his victory. Mass action may not reverse his victory but it is a democratic way of people to express their displeasure. You mention that the country is divided and my question to you is isn’t that reason enough for the Jubilee leaders to rise above their petty politics for the sake of the country? You have conveniently forgotten to mention that the laws that Jubilee members are quick to amend were as a result of negotiation between Jubilee and Cord members meaning consensus can be achieved as long as people talk with an open mind. Why couldn’t jubilee send the same laws back to the group that brought them to the parliament in the first given there were Jubilee members in that group? On Joho and Uhuru, again you are wrong on this, all Joho stated was that the project that Jubilee was claiming credit for was actually started way before Jubilee came in power so how can Jubilee claim credit for a project they never initiated in the first place. What fact was wrong with that? You want to tell me that Jubilee has not done anything in Mombasa since taking power that they can point to instead of claiming credit for projects that were started by others? You claim Kenya has independent Judiciary yet you forgot to mention that it is just the other day Jubilee leaders were the same ones claiming that the Judiciary is not independent. Remember when Duale (a man who is on record going around spreading the seeds of hatred by calling for mass eviction of other Kenyans) indicated Jubilee was going to bring a motion to discuss the behaviour of a judge. I am sure if CORD leader called that members of a certain community have to be evicted from parts of the country Jubilee will be crying all the way to the Hague. As I conclude I would like to draw your attention to this clip and one day I will be able to tell you I told you so:

  2. LWK says

    Depends on what is meant by ‘mass action.’ Voting is a mass action, but it is a legal means of bringing change. Going to court is sometimes a ‘class action’ but it is a legal means of resolving issues that cannot be resolved otherwise. If people are feeling powerless they gain power through these democratic means. Yes, sometimes peaceful protest is necessary, but as the Rev. wisely says, only if the government defies the Constitutional courts. The unfortunate thing about Africa and even more recently in America is that some types of protests have been anything but peaceful and some have even threatened the lives of voters to get their way. This is unacceptable and undemocratic. Maybe these types of protestors do not want democracy but something else.
    If there are calls for ‘mass action’ let it be to vote freely and democratically. Take the matter of electoral rules to court if there seem to be flaws in the law. Garner your ‘mass action’ to vote freely and fairly and thank God for the opportunity to do so.

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