02-06-2021 by redazione
President Uhuru Kenyatta chose Kisumu, Kenya's third largest city and a traditional stronghold of his ally but historic opponent Raila Odinga, for his traditional speech on Madaraka Day, the nation's proclamation of independence.
From here, absorbing a few whistles of protest from a still lively section of citizens who historically combine political rivalry with the tribal one between the Luo of Lake Victoria and the Kikuyu, the symbol of the power of which the Kenyatta family has always been the embodiment, The President recalled the importance of Kisumu in the country's independence process and the fundamental role played by Raila Odinga's father, Jaramogi Oginga, in the release of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta from illegal detention by British colonialists, and then lashed out at the judiciary in no uncertain terms.
A progressive nation is a nation that is in constant conversation with itself," Kenyatta began, "This is because the nation is a negotiated process that needs constant alignment and adjustment in the pursuit of perfection. But for freedom and human rights to be realised, the paradox of choice must be resolved.
The intended reference is to the recent ruling by the High Court, which deemed unconstitutional Kenyatta and Odinga's proposal to amend the constitution to create a parliamentary republic with a president elected by the people and a prime minister appointed by deputies and senators. The BBI (Building Bridges Together) initiative actually proposes other changes as well, tightening the fight against corruption, promoting gender equality and overcoming the anachronistic barriers of tribalism. But the predominant motive is the division of power and if the judges saw the BBI as a blatant conflict of interest for Kenyatta, who, faced with the impossibility of being re-elected for a third term, could leave the role to former opposition leader Odinga and remain in the saddle of the government as Prime Minister.
"From annulling a presidential election in 2017 to trying to stop the will of the people as expressed through the BBI, the judiciary has tested our constitutional limits, but it has not broken them," Kenyatta said, "We must follow the rule of law and obey the decisions of the courts, but the sovereign and supreme voice of the people of Kenya must also be followed".
It is the reference to the referendum that Kenyatta and Odinga said would be the ideal tool to pass the BBI.
"When the presidential election was annulled in 2017, we lost 1 trillion shillings as an economy in just 123 days," the President recalled, "Citizens cannot carry the burden of seeing 30% of the national budget lost every five years because of toxic politics.
And it is certainly not the judiciary that has borne the brunt of this choice, but it is the people who have seen development programmes and resources vanish courtesy of the judiciary."
In the strong words of the President, who therefore considers the High Court's decision to be unaccountable and detrimental to the economy and the welfare of the people, there is a willingness to continue with the appeal to get to the referendum and continue the work of the BBI until the next elections in 2022 without rivalry and chaos.
Kenyatta continued his speech by mentioning the development works completed, including infrastructure and international agreements: from the railway that will connect Nairobi to Uganda to the Port of Lamu, from the paved roads throughout the country to technology. "All this," he concluded, "to end the poverty of dignity, what the Governments of independent Kenya have always fought for.
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