It seems theatrical as we see waves of politics in post-colonial Kenya oscillating in cyclical, well-choreographed episodes in a repetitive fashion. As noted in Achile Mbembe’s Post-Colony Theory, this country’s founding political elites disregarded the independence constitution, set the pace and prioritized their own or personal goals.
This background, as we have seen, represents a political quagmire in which this country is mired: endemic corruption, inequalities and impunity. If both the state and individual citizens are prone to political violence and flagrant disregard for the rule of law, these are only symptoms of this legacy.
The distribution of wealth and equal share of national appointments that geopolitically divided this country during the colonial era and the immediate years of independence are two issues that continue to directly affect the services the state provides to its citizens today. Without implementing the rule of law and social justice, we can never achieve equality and justice in the distribution of national resources. This leads to ethnic conflicts and post-election violence.
Shockingly, when our Deputy President arrived in the United States, he discovered a new terminology that he had overlooked for many years – the rule of law and democracy. I say that because he has never mentioned anything to do with human rights, democracy and the rule of law at his rallies across the country for the past four years, even though they are key components of his bottom-up economic model.
Without this practice, the Mom Mboga and kiosk owners would not access it pesa mfukoni in a fair and equal manner. Technically in opposition and after its trip to the USA (land of freedom and democracy), the DP would soon face real confrontational problems with democracy and the rule of law. Even ODM leader Raila Odinga’s campaign promise to the vulnerable and unemployed is a prime example of the need to apply the rule of law to any economic model.
Botswana is a prime example of a country that has abolished the rule of law, resulting in peaceful elections and high economic growth. Today Botswana is called the wonder of Africa because it practices the duality of fairness and economic growth in its development paths. Hailed by the global institutions, Botswana today ranks fourth out of 31 countries in Africa and eighth out of 42 upper-middle-income countries in terms of the application of the rule of law in its political system and overall governance World.
The rule of law is widely expected to be an essential component for economic growth and peaceful coexistence. Thus, if the rule of law is upheld, then an appropriate nation has its way to upward economic growth and development.
Without social justice, the gap between rich and poor will ultimately widen. This will continue to cultivate class, location and ethnic animosity. In fact, the rule of law requires that anyone in a position of power must exercise their functions in accordance with the Kenyan Constitution and not arbitrarily. Article 259, paragraph 1, of the Constitution requires that it be interpreted in a manner that promotes, facilitates and contributes to the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights.
In summary, our politicians must be aware that without justice, equality and fundamental freedoms, no economic model can function effectively. We need fair laws and rights and policies applied in every practice we propose to alleviate poverty and improve the living conditions of Kenyans.
Finally, effective rule of law reduces corruption, fights poverty and disease, and protects people from injustice, big or small, rich or poor. It is the foundation for communities of justice, opportunity and peace – it underpins development, good government and respect for fundamental rights.
dr Chacha teaches at Laikipia University