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KENYA: More Online Voices But Little Action Offline

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By Joab Apollo

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime continues to face a barrage of attacks from disenchanted Kenyans, but the outcry never go beyond tweets and posts on social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter. Few Kenyans are willing to get out of their comfort zones to fight for what they lament about on social media.

The latest altercation pits the Presidency against the Judiciary over President Kenyatta’s refusal to appoint some six judges following their approval by the Judicial Service Commission. Kenyatta has come under fire from judges, magistrates and lawyers, but these legal practitioners are accused of not matching their words with action.
“If the judges of this country believe in the rule of law as they claim, they could have helped the course of justice by boycotting the swearing-in ceremony in solidarity with their beleaguered colleagues,”said Harrison Kamau of the street Parliament, Bunge La Mwananchi.
“I have seen teachers and doctors boycott work and take to the streets to demand  better remuneration, what’s preventing the Judiciary from doing the same.” He added
Despite a public outcry, 34 judges were sworn in at an elaborate ceremony presided over by President Kenyatta and attended by newly installed Chief Justice Martha Koome, her deputy, Philomena Mwilu, Judiciary Registrar Anne Amadi. The six judges rejected by Kenyatta are seen to be boldly independent in their rulings, in many cases rubbing the state the wrong way.
Two of them, Justices George Odinga and John Ngugi, were among the high court judges who recently declared null and void the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020, a pet project of President Kenyatta and his foe-turned-ally Raila Odinga. They argue the amendments are aimed at creating an all-inclusive government as a panacae to the electoral cycle of ethnic blood bath.
Political observers opine that Kenyatta is on a revenge mission against the Judiciary, but it’s the keyboard nature of the latter day Kenyan reforms advocates that has been brought to the fore. Human rights activists and the wider Kenyan public are losing their street momentum that saw them puncture state policies that we’re deemed retrogressive in the past.
“We cannot just fight on Facebook and Twitter and expect things to Change. We cannot fight when others are at home and expecting others to fight for them,” Said Derrick Ojal, a hawker in Gikomba, Nairobi.
For Steve Kioko, a second-hand clothes dealer, Kenyans will not realize any change soon because they are not willing to galvanise themselves around issues pertinent to the country’s social, political and economic development.
“The only language which the Kenyan government understands is complete paralysis of it’s functions through protests and boycotts but Kenyans of today are too selfish to go out and express their anger.” He said
So serious is the issue that former Chief Justices Willy Mutunga and David Maraga have crept out of the comfort of their retirement to vent their displeasure.
Maraga, who headed the bench that famously nullified Kenyatta’s 2017 election, on Tuesday during an interview with KTN TV described Kenyatta as the worst president in the history of Kenya.
Mutunga on the other hand wrote a letter in which he roundly criticised Kenyatta for reversing the gains Kenya has gained over the past decades.
“People not conversant with the contents of the Constitution don’t deserve to be in office.” States part of his letter.
Since the March 2018 political ceasefire between President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, the state has had it smooth-sailing as opposition legislators opt to cooperate with the government.
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