Wednesday, 19th April 2023
Dear Kenyans, as a country, we are in a political standoff; facing yet another round of political contestation which threatens our democratic and constitutional order. The stalemate has been largely driven by the political class. The people of Kenya who have been granted the sovereign power under Article 1 of the constitution are being excluded and are hardly involved in key decision making processes that impact on their lives.
Following consultations held in the last week amongst civil society, this concerns us.
Dear Kenyans, in 2010 we promulgated a peoples’ constitution that vested sovereign power in the people, and yet we are still beholden to our political leaders, as subject of the colonial rulers were bound to their imperial lords.
Our leaders have violated many aspects of the constitution while we watch on helplessly, forgetting that the power rests with us. Our political leaders have:
- Betrayed Kenyans’ quest for sustainable solution to the ongoing food crisis, cost of living and access to public services such as quality education, water, housing and health contrary to Article 43 of the Constitutional of Kenya.
- Destroyed the economy and failed to use their mandates to fix those parts that need fixing, and consequently making life unbearable for the majority of Kenyans.
- Over-borrowed, misspent, mismanaged, and stolen the proceeds of imprudent and expensive loans, leaving Kenyans with an unsustainable debt burden.
- Instituted heavy taxes to pay for their largess and political arrangements by living opulent lifestyles and loading up the public wage bill with political cronies, while political allies evade taxes placing the taxation burden on the Kenyan taxpayer.
- Partaken in the plunder of the public purse and have adopted misplaced policies to defund public services, while basic services such as health, education, and agriculture flounder due to corruption and mismanagement government officials at all levels.
- Appointed to public office individuals with questionable integrity and further established unconstitutional offices to reward their political cronies
- Orchestrated deliberate state capture of independent institutions namely the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), the National Police Service (NPS), the Office of the Controller of Budget among others to serve partisan political interests.
- Sought to convert Kenya into a police-state weaponizing security apparatus in the country against citizens.
- Continued to weaken and interfere with governance of elections and political conduct against the spirit of the constitution manifested through infiltration of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and other institutions with related mandate on elections.
- Continue to undermine and erode devolution through deliberate delay and underfunding of counties, failure to release devolved functions and abating unaccountability of county governments.
In view of the foregoing, we hold that political leaders have unfortunately and repeatedly hijacked opportunities to address the above issues and converted them into bi-partisan processes between political elite that end up with minimalist, compromised and non- transformative reforms that only serve their selfish political interest
We, therefore, demand the following:
- Restructure and expand the proposed bi-partisan parliamentary talks to make it an inclusive, independent and citizen-led dialogue process to discuss the immediate electoral issues and cost of living crisis and address a wider discussion on mid-term issues to get the country back on track.
- Develop a framework with principles, values, timelines, and enforceability mechanisms for the dialogues to protect it from political capture and deal-making to ensure it addresses Kenyans’ interests as previously envisioned.
- The above can be modelled along the National Constitutional Conference commonly known as the Bomas Process which brought together legislators, district delegates, and all key sectors as equal players to discuss and adopt the draft constitution between April 2003 and March 2004.
With or without the constitution of the above framework, we therefore commit:
- To reach out to all civic groups and other progressive forces to institute an authentic citizen agenda and process for the salvation of our country through the collective action of the people as provided in the constitution of Kenya. These include religious, trade unions, professional bodies, business groups, and the media at national and county level among others.
- To engage political leaders, regional actors, and international community to work closely in pushing the Kenya recovery agenda including Agenda Four item of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process 2008.
- To institute a values-based, rights-driven and citizen-led process of economic and democratic justice to address those who have committed crimes against the people of Kenya. It is for this reason that we are advocating for the adoption and implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report among other reports on historical injustices in Kenya.
- African Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG)
- Awaaz Magazine
- Centre for Memory and Development
- Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO)
- Free Kenya
- Grace Agenda
- Haki Yetu
- Inform Action
- International Commission of Jurists, Kenya Chapter (ICJ-K)
- Inuka Ni Sisi!
- Katiba Institute
- Kenya National Interface Team (KNIT)
- Kenya Tuitakayo Assembly (KTA)
- Mazingira Institute
- Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI)
- National Students Caucus
- Oxfam Kenya
- Pamoja Trust
- Social Justice Centres Working Group
- The Angaza Movement
- The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA)
- The Kenya Human Rights Commission
- Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya)
- Uttermost Welfare
- Youth Agenda