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Friday, October 10, 2008

Africa is sick and tired of Western hypocrisy


















By Jerry Okungu


Every morning I wake up, I feel so cheated that I must share my nationality with Samuel Kivuitu and his ECK commissioners. I wonder aloud what on earth is stopping this bunch of thugs from doing the only sensible thing left—to get out and get lost! Why is it so difficult for someone as old as Kivuitu who is past his retiring age to just resign and save Kenya continued embarrassment?

Are we saying that holders of constitutional offices in Kenya have no conscience or families to think about? Surely with all the negative publicity Kivuitu and his group are getting, if they cannot have the presence of mind to go home, then there must be a good reason why they were hired in the first place. The person who hired them must have consulted a mind reader who confirmed that they were the right guys for the job because they were devoid of integrity, self-respect and conscience; hence they would commit any electoral fraud and still walk the streets of Nairobi unperturbed.

In the middle of this mess and criminal act that has already cost us millions of dollars and over a thousand lives, I was disturbed to learn that the French Embassy, on behalf of the European Union, was negotiating a soft landing for the Kivuitu team. That they were being persuaded to resign in exchange for either new jobs abroad or lucrative severance packages! This, we were told was the brilliant exit strategy worked out by the French Ambassador in Kenya.

Much as the French Ambassador is right in trying to help in a difficult and embarrassing situation, common sense would inform her and the rest of the European Union that Kenyans and the rest of Africa are tired of Western double standards if not doublespeak!

For decades they have preached to this continent the virtues of good governance, management best practices, democratic values, accountability and transparency in running our affairs. They have unreservedly condemned our leaders for being corrupt and bad managers of our economic resources. Yet now, when there is a clear case of fraudulent management of Kenya’s electoral process, the very culprits who should have been in jail 10 months ago are being bribed by the very anti-graft high priests of the Western world to leave office!

Would a shameless untrustworthy person like Kivuitu ever get the kind of treatment the French are trying to give him in any European country? It is true Kivuitu and his team are holders of constitutional offices but so was Thabo Mbeki of South Africa who was forced out of power without waiting for the due process that was a no-confidence vote in Parliament. In 2003, Chief Justice Bernard Chunga did not have to wait for President Kibaki to set up a tribunal to force him out. He realised he had disgraced the bench and left. Several other High Court and Court of Appeal judges followed suit. In the recent past, three governors of the Central Bank of Kenya have resigned when they were mentioned adversely in a manner that touched on their personal integrity. They didn’t have to wait to be pushed out of office.

In my opinion, the crimes Kivuitu and his commissioners have committed are far worse than what Naashon Nyagah, Andrew Mullei and Bernard Chunga might have committed. The ECK committed crimes that had a direct relation to over 1,200 dead Kenyans. Their crimes resulted in internal displacement of people in the region of 500,000 with millions of shillings worth of property destroyed simply because they wanted to please a few individuals. They took Kenya 20 years back when Moi’s mlolongo elections declared candidates with the shortest queues winners in the 1988 elections.

These are common criminals who have abused their offices and the constitution that they now cling to for protection. They are walking our streets because we have a dead justice department that sees no evil, hears no evil. They are walking free on our streets because Justice Department has perfected the art of serving individuals rather than the country and its people. Their survival instincts tell them that self-preservation comes first. That is why it is disheartening to learn that the European Union wants to perpetuate this impunity by rewarding the same ECK criminals.

For whatever it is worth, God save Kenya if this outrage comes to pass.

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