We will not give up the fight for a freer country

What you need to know:

  • Some 33 years ago, then President Moi had a smooth ride until he clamped down on Kenyans’ freedoms
  • In three short weeks, MPs have targeted for attack the media, civil society and the Judiciary

There is a growing trend by the Jubilee Administration to roll back the reform gains of the last decade. This government seems to be too touchy, always running away from its own shadow even where there’s nothing to look back at.

Yet, this is not new — history seems to be repeating itself callously fast. Some 33 years ago, then President Moi had a smooth ride until he clamped down on Kenyans’ freedoms.

The measures he put in place to protect his presidency only ended up alienating him further from the people, and inspired dissent that would see his grand vision of Kanu ruling for 100 years crumble before his own eyes.

Far worse it is for President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, who are ruling a youthful population, most of whom have known nothing but freedom of association and expression.

There is also a discerning larger middle class, which despite voting on ethnic lines worships at the altar of civil liberties. This group will not trade these freedoms for political expediency.

It started with a Parliament dominated by the ruling coalition and peopled by bullish and incorrigibly cantankerous individuals who believe that might is right and that numbers are everything.

In three short weeks, MPs have targeted for attack the media, civil society and the Judiciary. Reason? These watchdog institutions are too powerful for their liking. They claim to be fighting corruption and bad governance in the institutions, but in reality they are scavenging the horizon for opportunities for rent-seeking. (READ: Lawmakers now train their guns on NGOs)

Some years back, it used to be only a handful of lawmakers that would go rogue. Today, there’s a high chance that the young men and women we spirited into the august House on March 4 should not have been allowed near any ballot box.

But what’s more worrying is the silence of the President and his deputy on this matter. The more they look the other side as their sidekicks desecrate our national values, the more it’s tempting to conclude that the troops are doing their bidding.

As a newspaper we expect nothing short of respect for our national values and the freedoms written into our Constitution by the blood and sweat of our statesmen and women.

We may disagree and even negotiate with the Jubilee government on many fronts, but we will not yield even an inch in our resolve for Kenyans’ right to fight for a better life.

We will not sit by and watch as the civil society, which has become an important catalyst for good governance, is destroyed ostensibly because some of its members challenged the election of the Jubilee leaders to State House.

Kenyans don’t have to be cheerleaders to be patriotic. And this is the simple truth our leadership must ingest.

But there’s hope. We acknowledge the attempts the government is making on many fronts to improve service delivery to wananchi. However, all this will be in vain if they are not accompanied by genuine respect for diversity.

This leadership must learn to tolerate criticism. Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto may have cut their political teeth under the Kanu hegemony, but they should not allow MPs to make them poster children for repression. Gentlemen, you promised us change, now show us the benefits — not the sword of intolerance.

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