Theft Through Legislation, the Kenyan Parliamentary rot ~ Alex Ndungu Njeru


I think the medieval English made a primary error of judgment when they said, ‘set a thief to catch a thief.’ Certainly you cannot use a Kenyan thief to catch another Kenyan thief, especially if the first thief and second thief are Kenyan Members of Parliament and have the powers to legislate themselves out of jail. Kenyan’s legislature is riddled with a pernicious rot, something synonymously characteristic of that institution. That is why I have taken that a few minutes of my time to detail a state of discomfiture that ensues after observing the absurdities and the antics of Kenya’s big house. Before being accused of being overly sadistic and pessimistic let me explain how Kenyan Members of Parliament or MPigs as they are derogatorily referred to in social media have busted the bubble of optimism that had enveloped the country after the promulgation of the 2010 constitution.


Kenyans overwhelmingly passed in the new laws in the hope that the laws would provide a fresh break from the past. A past that was riddled with corruption, nepotism, tribalism and a pervasive culture of impunity. Kenyans genuinely hoped that the new laws would usher in a new error of thrifty and accountable governance. That is why the drafters of the new laws dedicated a full chapter on the integrity and accountability of state officers into the drafting process. The chapter expressly states that individuals with blighted histories cannot assume nor get appointed to state offices.  This would essentially lock out most of the current crop of Kenyan parliamentarians who have documented lack of probity histories. Others have documented issues of hate mongering, some like the ever ubiquitous duo of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Samoei Ruto are facing crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Article 80 (a) of the Kenyan constitution states that ‘parliament shall enact legislation establishing procedures and mechanisms for the effective administration of chapter (six) which basically deals with integrity issues. Kenyan MPs have effectively used this lacuna as their get out of jail card. A carte blanche that effectively wipes the slates of past historical felonies and misdemeanors especially for them that have questionable characters.

It is evident that the fight against impunity from these individuals, who have plundered our national resources, will not be won with the coming of the integrity law. What would have saved the impoverished economy and a highly taxed population from these chains has dramatically assumed a political dimension with the aim of protecting a few individuals who are tribal chiefs and masters of impunity. In a struggling economy, the country would have reaped the benefits of clean leadership in the forthcoming general election next year to manage the inadequate resources to improve the ailing economy. Moreover, such laws would have ensured that the political leadership which is responsible for the stability of society brings sanity to the public service at the county and national level.

If we as the Kenyan citizenry are not vigilant enough, the gains that we have so much yearned and fought for shall be negated by not so much as a legislative processes of a yester year political elite, clinging desperately to tendrils of a status quo  that serves their place precedence on political survival by all means possible.



Alex Ndungu Njeru is a Columnist on African Liberty’s Voice Of Liberty