Today we are excited to have another guest blog, this time from Diana Mukunu who
Particpated in the Ni Yetu walk. A group of activists recently walked 350 km across Kenya to mark the 6th anniversary of the Katiba, talking about and promoting the constitution all the way. They are passionately committed to improving knowledge about, and understanding of, the constitution. You can find find out more about Ni Yetu on their Facebook page or follow them on twitter @NiYetuKE.
Diana Mukunu had the following to say:
It has been six years since the promulgation of the constitution, but only a few Kenyans know anything about it. What remains in the minds are the historical injustices, including the 2007 Post-Election Violence, the International Criminal Court , the subsequent internal displacement of citizens and the ‘Nusu Mkate’ regime which saw Kenya install an office for a prime minister. Squabbles still followed over jurisdictions, and Kenyans – from squatters in the Rift to homeowners in Runda – wide-eyed with bafflement, were continually being treated to a circus, or at best, a poorly directed satire with the cast of greedy elite in a tag-of-war over public resources and a sense of self-importance. Their need to be worshipped was unmistakable. No matter the cost, they needed to possess the nation’s instruments of utmost influence. It is safe to say that 2007 PEV was the worst election-related anarchy Kenya has ever witnessed, despite having experienced many others.
To date, the main perpetrators have not been convicted, and Kenyans are still divided on tribal lines; and because of it, many are unable to return to their homes. The guilty continue to rule Kenya, because here, financial wealth and influence absconds perpetrators from liability. The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission paid effort in trying to reunite the country, but dissatisfaction still simmers quietly among Kenyans.
However, in the aftermath, Kenya birthed the current constitution which delegates powers of the state-head, so as to allow accountability, and affirms systems that work for the citizenry, like that of devolution, which channels resources back to the county government.
But Kenyans are naïve to the notions of self-empowerment. Years of single party rule – where tenets and dictatorial propaganda were fed from podiums and broadcast channels – programmed us and robbed us of the ability to reason and deliberate for ourselves. Repeated betrayal from those we elect to power has made us deem patriotism a foreign concept. Instead, we hold an “it’s our turn to eat” philosophy, which translates to successive tribal rule that gives license to the scavenging elite to pick on the very flesh off our sun-beat backs, enabled by our ignorance and apathy on matters of governance. The people do not know, and so they perish.
It is on this backdrop that Ni Yetu Walk was organized – a movement that saw young Kenyans, many being artists, walk 350 Kilometers from Kisumu to Nairobi. We went from one town to another, market places to shopping centers, schools to villages, engaging and sensitizing communities about their hard-earned civil rights, duty and power. We sought to instill in Kenyans a sense of patriotism, re-igniting a sense of value invested in the document.
We took notes too. Kenyans are tired. They want change. They want to see their standards of living elevated. As much as we agree with them that the fish rots from the head, ours was also to remind them that it is us – the people – who hire incompetence by electing the leaders we have, and then tolerate substandard service. We felt a great sense of affirmation knowing that most of us still love Kenya and are willing to take the right steps and make due sacrifices to change our country.
We reminded Kenyans that Kenya is ours, that we have the power to make decisions for a better tomorrow; that it is us who are the very tools used by corrupted leaders to tear down and siphon out development and sound prospects for our future, and it is therefore us still who should make change for the better. “Katiba Ni Yetu” – it IS for us. It speaks for and fights for us. We are therefore obligated to celebrate, uphold and defend it, so as to ensure the progress of Kenya, and to see to the ultimate end of social ills and depravity.
All images provided courtesy of Ni Yetu.