En Route to Despotism
En Route to Despotism
For the last one week, Kenya has glared the international headlines for wrong reasons. It started with the media shutdown in the wake of a swearing-in ceremony that was amply slammed for its nonconformity to the supreme law of the land. After the infamous ceremony, the government initiated a wide scale manhunt for the organizers and the perpetrators of the alleged “unconstitutional” swearing-in ceremony. Among the political leaders arrested was Joshua Miguna Miguna. His handling by the authorities has elicited a sharp criticism across the world, and more so, among the Kenyans. The ultimate question that has been lingering in the minds of many is whether Kenya is a country governed by law.
It is apparent that the question of whether Kenya is a lawless country needs a legal expert to answer. However, any other liberal-minded person can ascertain that despotism is the likely fate of Kenya should the current regime continue to flout the basic rule of law. The treatment of the self-proclaimed “NRM General,” a renowned liberal thinker and an outspoken lawyer, is a sufficient proof to label Kenya is a nation heading towards lawlessness. Firstly, Miguna’s arrest was characterized by anarchic invasion of his home where detonation of explosives to gain access to his house was used.Such an action is equivalent to a militarized operation. The Kenyan constitution upholds the right to personal property and condemns “malicious destruction” by a third party (Kenya Law Reform Commission, n.d.). Secondly, the outspoken lawyer was held for five days in an incommunicado custody without trial. The constitution gives a suspect the right to a fair trial which should commence within 24hours after the time of arrest. For Miguna, that did not happen. Thirdly, a dramatic showdown between the judiciary and the executive arms of government ensued following the arrest of the “general.” The constitutional provides a clear-cut separation of powers between the two arms (Masinde, 2017). Therefore, the accusation of the executive not following orders issued by the high court to release or produce Miguna in the court was a manifest of an ailing legal system in Kenya. Lastly, the forceful deportation to Canada of Joshua Miguna Miguna, a Kenyan born lawyer, partially educated in the country and a former gubernatorial candidate, is an unerring sign of a “joking” administration. If he was not a Kenyan, how was he cleared to vie for the governor position? If he was born in Kenya, how is he not a Kenyan? Well, such questions have been lingering in the minds of many people all around the world.
In summary, the unfolding events after the arrest and deportation of Miguna Miguna stimulate mixed reactions that question whether the law any longer governs Kenya. Apparently, the discussed events reinforce the skepticism, and indeed, an objective-minded person can unmistakably see that the country is heading towards despotism. National cohesion efforts need to be implemented to bring citizens together while fostering a common identity, Kenyans.
Kenya Law Reform Commission. (n.d.). Constitution of Kenya. Retrieved from http://www.klrc.go.ke/index.php/constitution-of-kenya/112-chapter-four-the-bill-of-rights/part-2-rights-and-fundamental-freedoms/206-40-protection-of-right-to-property
Masinde, M. W. (2017). Separation of power in Kenya: Analysis of the relations between the judiciary and the executive. International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies, 5(1), 32. doi:10.1504/ijhrcs.2017.10003662
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