If you are like me, and I sincerely hope that you are not, then you steer clear of Kenyan news media. Much of what passes as news and political commentary these days is barely-disguised propaganda from, in order of precedence, the president, his embattled deputy, the former prime minister or the satellites of vocal acolytes that carry water for the three principals. Every now and then, has-beens like the former vice presidents and some of the more energetic members of parliament will get a bit of airtime as will the doddery political flies made up of "civil society" windbags that swarm around the high table.
Therefore, it is almost certain that if it hadn't been for the violent rhetoric surrounding the release of the recent Report of the Steering Committee on the Implementation of the Building Bridges to a United Kenya Taskforce Report, the event would have passed me by without so much as a by-your-leave. But, sadly, I happened to come across the spirited whining of the former leader of the majority party in the senate and my spirit is disturbed.
Listening to the poor man, one gets the impression that the BBI, the catchall acronym for the implementation of the Taskforce report, is a matter of such grave national importance that presidential political ambitions shall be made and unmade on the outcome of the process. Our eponymous senator went to great lengths to highlight the crucial weaknesses in BBI (while also bitching piteously about how he and his fellow travellers had been locked out of the process). It never occurred to him to admit that the reason why there was a BBI in the first place is that he, his principals and their political party have done a great deal of constitutional sabotage that necessitates a messy political solution today.
Members of my benighted profession are taught to look at circumstances for what they are and not for what our clients wish them to be. I have witnessed one of my seniors throwing his weight behind some of the BBI report's steering committee's implementation report and, dear friend, my spirit is disturbed because if there's one thing that the BBI in its entirety is, it is that it is proof of constitutional hooliganism of epic proportions. Some may argue that the trigger for the latest round of BBI madness is the Chief Justice's advice to the president to dissolve parliament over parliament's refusal to implement the two-thirds gender rule. Some may say that after a year, give or take a pandemic or two, of the inexorable marginalisation of the deputy president and his acolytes, it is time to put him out of his misery. Still others might say that if there is a way of putting constitutional square pegs in antidemocratic round holes, the BBI is it with its proposals for statutory health commissions and constitutional police councils.
I am of a different opinion. From the moment the reds accepted, with open contempt, the outcome of the 2010 referendum, they have worked assiduously to hamstring everything the constitution stands for, from gender equity to the protection of the rights of arrested persons, fiscal rectitude to the principles of devolution. Parliamentary independence was, and continues to be, notable by its absence. Judicial independence has been the focus of determined violence that it is a wonder that just recently the Chief Justice inaugurated a new court house.
In my opinion, the BBI is a fig-leaf for something that Kenyans are afraid to come to terms wit: the political elite who speak for and about them hate the people. They hate them with a deep and abiding malevolence that is revealed in the policies and laws that are enforced, and the constitutional principles that are exsanguinated in the open, the way sacrificial lambs were exsanguinated in biblical myths. I have no faith that the successful implementation of the recommendations of the BBI Taskforce will re-acquaint Kenya's elite with the basic tenets of constitutional values. In fact, if (or when) the BBI recommendations are fully implemented, I predict that Kenyans will have great cause to regret their choices of elites. Like it is told in the Gospel according to St Matthew, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.