“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” quipped
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902).
The moralist and historian, who was otherwise simply known as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion after making long observations of absolute monarchies that were in a drunken stupor after getting drunk with power, more often than not turning their wrath on their subjects who they were supposed to protect.
back to the Kenyan case. The piece of legislation that is about to be passed into law by the ‘tyranny of numbers” is an obvious attempt to sneak back the absolute powers of the presidency,which we downsized in our new constitution, through the backdoor. And what better timing than when the majority of the Kenyan citizenry, boxed into a tight corner by the frequent terror attacks, might be willing to welcome anything that looks like a savior!
The reason why Jomo and Moi ruled like emperors was because they had a tight leash on the police force, which they used to monopolize violence against any dissenting voices, including the media. This is what prompted Kenyans to propose security of tenure for the police chief so that he/she doesn’t end up becoming the president’s lapdog! This obviously becomes the case when we remove the security of tenure of the IG of police since he is obviously going to be at the peck and call of the executive. Someone is yet to make me understand how security of tenure for the IG of police fuels terrorism or ties the president’s hands!
I have heard some simplistic arguments to the effect that better have security than enjoying freedom without security.I must add that such an argument is totally naive and myopic. Who said that a piece of legislation is going to safeguard our porous borders if there is no goodwill? Have we exhausted all avenues in the current laws? NO. Have we reformed the policemen and women who, at a small fee, allow foreigners to smuggle arms into the country? NO. The truth is, there can never be security without freedom.
What we are seeing is a govt that is taking advantage of an ugly situation to consolidate power absolutely. For a govt that is so image-conscious, the media has obviously gotten under its skin by exposing its ugly underbelly. Only an illiterate person can believe that the media fuels terrorism by reporting real-time events. You gag the media and have the police chief by the balls and you get your absolute powers!
Our leadership is known more for their knack to misuse laws than applying them. It will therefore be no surprise to see people with dissenting voices being detained without trial in the name of security and this idea of telling people to get a license before they gather in a peaceful meeting is utter rubbish. It takes us 55 years back to the colonial error(pun intended).
If the tyranny of numbers goes ahead and passes the bill into law, then the JUBILEE govt can as well start building new and more spacious prisons because the current ones will not accommodate all of us who will shun such impunity, with the contempt it deserves.