Sunday, January 2, 2011

Here’s my wish list for the country this year

Sunday Nation 02 January 2011

The year 2011 promises to be an interesting one for Kenyans. It is a year that will, in all probability, be approached with marked trepidation because many were glad to see 2010 go but are afraid to face the realities that 2011 may bring.

Being the penultimate year for the Grand Coalition Government, we are sailing in totally uncharted waters as far as electoral politics is concerned. There are so many imponderables that one may be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that inevitable conflict looms towards the end of this year.

However, many of us remain optimistic that we shall be able to confront our challenges and face the year with courage and, above all, that peace shall prevail in this country.

To this end, today I have chosen to share my wish list for Kenya this year.

First, I wish the International Criminal Court (ICC) moves with speed to make a ruling on the Ocampo Six, declaring whether they have a case to answer or not.

For the sake of Kenya’s stability and political future I hope that the prosecutor did his homework well, and has enough evidence to indict at least two of those described as having the “greatest responsibility” for the 2007-2008 conflagration.

The atrocities

Whether these two will come from among the already public list of the Ocampo Six or from elsewhere is not important, as long as someone is eventually held to account for the atrocities that visited our country after the last General Election.

Secondly, my wish is that Parliament reconvenes early, preferably in the next few days, to resume its important work of operationalising the new Constitution.

We are currently behind schedule in many of the timelines, and I will not be surprised if an enterprising citizen goes to court while Parliament is on recess and asks for its dissolution on the grounds of contravening the Constitution.

Many constitutional commissions remain in abeyance and dozens of laws are yet to be passed due to procrastination on the part of our parliamentarians, and it is time they stepped up to the plate and fulfilled their constitutional mandate.

Thirdly, I am hopeful that the boundaries review fiasco will be sorted out within the next few months.

The circus that the Ligale commission and politicians subjected us to towards the end of last year must not be allowed to recur. We must realise that every time we engage in cynical political games, we are endangering the very fragile fabric of our nation.

Hopefully our politicians will keep off the process and let professionals do their thing this time.

Finally, I fervently wish that the executive arm of the government will this once ignore the motion brought to Parliament late last year calling on the executive to pull Kenya out of the Rome treaty that established the ICC.

Although the Leader of Government Business preferred to characterise the motion as “government business”, we must choose to view it only as an expression of the MPs’ feelings at the time, coming hot on the heels of the ICC prosecutor’s public naming of his suspects.

Hopefully the President and the Prime Minister will ignore the MPs and focus on preparing the country to deal with the existential challenge that the first General Election under the new Constitution will present.

Dr Lukoye Atwoli is a consultant psychiatrist and lecturer at Moi University’s School of Medicine

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