In his book, “How Change Happens“, Duncan Green presents a theory I have come to ascribe to. The convergence of active and patriotic citizens, and responsive governments in changing the world. And he goes on to give tens of real examples of how ordinary citizens are changing their own communities. From the brave Chiquitanos in Bolivia to the resilient men and women of Botswana. Beautiful stories of Hope.
Now, for Citizens, Green argues that at the very least, governments need to provide to them essential public services, safeguard their livelihoods and most importantly, guarantee their inalienable rights and liberties. And rights are not privileges. Rights, according to Green are, “are longterm guarantees or entitlements which duty bearers have an obligation to respect, protect and uphold”. Citizens on their end must find ways of proactively engaging their respective governments to curve out inclusive governance models and ensure a redistributive economy is achieved that reduces inequality, which today is the world’s biggest challenge.
Now coming back home, the Jubilee government owes us, citizens of this great nation, the assurance that ours is not The Animal Farm (even if it would be naive to imagine it hasn’t previously been) where some animals are more equal than others. The law, in applying it, must be seen to be predictable and fair. Not as a tool to settle political scores with the opposition. Because if that stretches to these limits, then two things will happen. One, we will all be thrown back into yet another grueling political period which will last for the next five years. And we have all seen, in those last months, the consequences of such on our livelihoods, especially among the poorest Kenyan households.
Secondly, this government will start lacking the confidence of its informed citizenry. When arbitrary arrests start being made around us as we’ve recently witnessed with the arrest of David Ndii, then I get scared. And the questions that people like me start to ask, is how safe we are from such Machiavellian antics, if and when we ever go against a position taken by the government we supported? And for a liberal democracy like ours, what will happen to those Jubilee supporters, when, say NASA takes over the Country’s leadership? Fear of vengeance? In a nutshell, the law and its enforcement cannot afford to be seen as a convenience tool for any regime, whether Jubilee or NASA. The law must work and protect all, regardless of their political persuasions and leanings. Otherwise, we run a risk of sparking off unnecessary tensions amongst us. So, is this a bad omen?
“It has been said that most revolutions are not caused by revolutionaries in the first place, but by the stupidity and brutality of governments.” – Sean MacStiofain.