DATED AND ISSUED ON THIS 1ST DAY OF APRIL, 2018
THE CIVIL SOCIETY WILL NOT SUPPORT THE AGREEMENT “BUILDING BRIDGES” THAT PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA AND OPPOSITION CHIEF RAILA ODINGA SIGNED ON MARCH 9, 2018 IF IT DOES NOT LEAD TO RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS, THE RULE OF LAW AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY
The Civil Society will not support the agreement, ‘Building Bridges’ that President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga signed as it cannot lead to greater respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance, let alone uniting the country.
Moreover, the civil society will support the agreement only if implementation of the Public Benefit Organizations Act is part of the agenda and the government commits to create an enabling environment for the sector just as it has done for other actors in the development and governance processes.
After the events of the last one week surrounding the return of political activist Miguna Miguna, the Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) is convinced that the Jubilee government is irredeemably despotic and incapable of midwifing the raft of reforms and transformation envisaged in the agreement.
As such, the CSRG calls on the former Prime Minister to tread carefully and not to hesitate to abandon the handshake and the agreement thereto altogether if the Jubilee government continues on its well-trodden path of dictatorship, disregard of the rule of law and impunity, and instead form an alliance with the civil society as the only viable option of continuing the struggle for the much needed reforms in the country’s governance structures and systems.
It is unthinkable that President Uhuru Kenyatta failed to seize the opportunity that came with the return of Miguna Miguna and demonstrate to the country and the world that he had the political will to take the country forward, more so after agreeing to work together with the opposition leader whose swearing in, and not Miguna’s renunciation of citizenship is the cause of his (Miguna’s) tribulations.
If the mistreatment that Miguna Miguna was subjected to at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and which he continues to suffer in a foreign airport is being meted out on him because of his role in the swearing in of Raila Odinga as the People’s President, then one can only conclude that President Kenyatta did not wholeheartedly shake hands with the former Prime Minister and still holds grudges that will impede the implementation of the agreement he claims to have struck with the opposition leader.
Allowing the police to turn the country’s busiest international airport and get-way to the world into a battle field with its own citizens is the least Kenyans expected the Jubilee government to engage in at this point in time when the economy and the country’s international standing was beginning to recover from prolonged and mismanaged presidential elections that had to be repeated after nullification by the Supreme Court.
If the amount of violence that the police visited upon journalists and lawyers whose only “crime” if at all was to do that which they are trained as professionals to do is anything to go by, and coming so soon even as the country struggles to recover from police brutality during the 2017 elections for which the Presidency is on record “commending the police for a job well done”, then the former Prime Minister is better forewarned not to lend credibility and legitimacy to a regime that is not schooled in the language of dialogue and which, without even the slightest provocation, does not hesitate to apply crude tactics and unmitigated violence on its own citizens with such impunity.
Contrary to what the former Prime Minister may have been made to believe, that working with the government and filling its credibility and legitimacy deficit will help cement his legacy, it is now clear that the Jubilee government is only interested in using the opposition leader’s reform credentials to attract financial support for its grandiose infrastructure projects while still perpetuating misrule, theft and plunder of public resources and violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms with impunity.
If the so called agreement was about the rule of law, how come the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Fred Matiang’i, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and the Principal Secretary in charge of Immigration Gordon Kihalangwa could defy court orders, and deport Miguna Miguna to Dubai without the presidency uttering a word? It can only mean that the presidency authored the script and cannot disown itself even in the face of public outrage and international embarrassment.
Civil Society Reference Group