Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kibaki and Raila Should take a Retreat Urgently

Kriegler and Waki reports are a damning audit of Kenyan leadership, institutions and society. According to the reports, leadership and institutions in every sector of the society were culpable for the political and moral decadence that led to the pre-election and post-election violence. The reports unanimous conclusion is that the culture of lawlessness, disregard of rule of law and impunity in society, is to blame. The reckless culture was exhibited by the top most State executives down the hierarchy to the ordinary persons.

The report by Kriegler went further and stated that even a new constitution may not solve the problem which basically is cultural in nature. It demanded a head on, no nonsense approach to deal with the lawlessness and impunity. Waki report reiterated the same and offered a prescription for dealing with the problem through establishment of a special tribunal to investigate and prosecute those bearing greatest responsibility in the matter. In addition, both reports recommended a complete legal and institutional overhaul and reform to ensure transparency and accountability.

The task ahead is enormous and requires creativity, honesty and forthrightness. The national behavior of pointing fingers, blame and burying the head in the sand will not do this time. There is no single institution that with moral authority left to suggest others are to blame. The entire country should stop and examine itself as cosmetic solutions are not appropriate. The country needs long lasting and sustainable legislative and institutional solutions.

When the leadership and institutional credibility in the society is questionable, hope for restoration and renewal resides in the highest authority in the country. The President and the Prime Minister are the highest authorities in the country as leaders of the government of coalition. During the post-election crisis the country trusted Kibaki and Raila to rise to the occasion and end the violence. They did. Now again the society expects them to show leadership and restore the dignity and respectability of the nation.

The grave conclusions by the two reports should have made the two leaders to go to a close door retreat urgently in order to discuss the reports and come out with a blueprint on the way ahead. The compromised Cabinet and Parliament might not have the faith of the people to do this. Their role currently, until they are also reformed, should be to give administrative and legal effect to the decisions of the principals. That is an indication of the level and extent of decay in the national institutions and society.

The modus operandi here my sound dictatorial, but during institutional crisis, as the one the country is facing now, a singular and purposive direction is required. Taking a leaf from the prevailing international financial crisis, the big capitalist countries’ leadership moved very fast, without any delay, to arrest the situation. The way they did it cannot be said to be democratic. Decisions were made by the top most government executive authorities and were presented to their institutions for administrative and legal authorization. Less is expected in Kenya now.

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