As a popular movement, WE THE PEOPLE welcome the developments on Friday 9th March 2018 where President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga communicated their commitment to dialogue and to working together for the benefit of Kenya and all Kenyans. We are aware that securing our shared destiny requires cooperation, leadership and a strong resolve from and across the top echelons of leadership and influence. For this reason, we are encouraged by the words, the symbolism and the spirit of the Friday event.
As the two leaders and the appointed team work to clarify the specific details of their plan of action, we are optimistic that the process and desired actions will remain INCLUSIVE, PARTICIPATORY and RESPONSIVE to the most urgent issues with potential for lasting impact across the largest segment of the Kenyan people.
We are aware that this event potentially presents an opportunity for the start of a national dialogue as a step towards healing and reconciliation. However, we are particularly keen that in whichever form, to be meaningful, the proposed dialogue and plan of action must not only be inclusive but must be conducted under the existing legal framework.
Of immediate concern in this post-election period and in an effort to create the conditions for reconciliation and stability we believe it is imperative that the political leadership and government do the following:
National cohesion must be built on a strong foundation of reconciliation which requires at a minimum: admission of wrong doing, commitment to non-recurrence, and wherever possible reparative justice for individuals and communities. We cannot move on without addressing the past. It has not worked before and it will not work now. Cohesion requires that we are alive to the various chasms in Kenya today. Ethnicity is important, but so too are youth, women, marginalized communities and groups. We would expect to see this inclusion in the structuring of the dialogue as well as in its agenda setting. Kenyans must set the agenda for politicians and not the other way around.
Kenya belongs to all of us. This gesture of good will by President Kenyatta and Rt. Hon Odinga is a necessary step to re-building our connections but it is meaningless without resolute action. WE THE PEOPLE reiterate our support for national dialogue within the framework of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 which provides that all sovereign power belongs to the people and have clear processes for its amendment.
Further in the subsequent months as this process evolves we wish to emphasize the importance of resolving long standing issues such as:
1. Full Implementation of the TRUTH, JUSTICE and RECONCILIATION REPORT that has been shelved and ignored by the government for years, thus ensuring ordinary Kenyans do not get justice.
2. Fighting Corruption: Kenyans continue to lose their lives and future to corruption. We demand an immediate ban on all public/state officers and their families doing business with government and the arrest and prosecution of known corrupt officials. We cannot afford to continue losing 600 billion to corruption annually as the government drowns us further in debt to fill the financial gaps left by official theft.
3. Justice and Electoral reforms: There can be no peace without justice and the much needed reforms in our election system. We demand lasting solutions to ensure we do not have a repeat of the same injustices, election malpractices and deaths experienced in past elections.
- ELECTORAL JUSTICE
Every Kenyan has a constitutional right to life and the loss of life during the electoral and post-election period is regrettable and calls out for accountability. While we can never fully compensate families for the loss of their loved ones, the government must compensate the families of Samathan Pendo, Geoffrey Mutinda and Stephanie Moraa along with the over 90 other Kenyans killed during the election period.
Accountability for actions is critical to re-setting the direction of the country. Without accountability there can be no justice. Accountability must start at the top. The resignation of IG J. Boinett as the head of the police who it has been documented used excessive force must precede dialogue even as we await investigations by the Police and IPOA on the individual cases.
In addition, a full audit of the 2017 elections must be conducted including an independent electoral and IT audit of the IEBC whose findings must be made public.
- RESTORATION OF THE RULE OF LAW
An alarming aspect of the political contestation has been the weakening of the rule of law and a flagrant disregard for the Constitution, law and court orders by politicians but also by the State and State actors. This situation has led to rising insecurity for regular Kenyans across the country from Mt. Elgon to Lamu and right here in Nairobi. It has also endangered devolution and the services provided by counties to the people with the delays in remittance of funds by the national government.
Meaningful dialogue, a dialogue that will move Kenya forward, requires that all persons, including political players and the State are bound by the law. As part of the commitment to the existing legal framework we expect full & immediate compliance with the law as well as all existing court orders.
Kenyans have a right to expect the protection of the law for their person and property whether a kiosk or their family shamba, and this protection is impossible if politicians and state officers continue to violate the law without sanction, emboldening criminal elements in the society to terrorize ordinary citizens.
In addition, we expect the revocation of all appointments done in contravention of the law (whether in terms or composition or in violation of the legal process) including those of Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretaries, Director of Public Prosecutions among others. We cannot build a new Kenya on illegalities.
Kenya has one of the most educated youth populations on the continent and it is no longer acceptable to keep excluding them from leadership. The youth are our present not just our future. The recycling of government and public service positions among a small clique of people, ethnicities and families must stop.
- ENVIRONMENTAL DEGREDATION AND PROTECTION OF WATER TOWERS
Wangari Maathai our own Nobel Laurent warned us of the importance of environmental conservation but we forget that she linked this to good governance. The urgent situation with the degradation of forests, the prioritization of infrastructure over environmental integrity and impact, is hurting ordinary Kenyans. Water shortages and drought are recurring issues that requires action now. We need development but not at the cost of our heritage and the inheritance we will leave to future generations.
This is an urgent matter that requires reconstituting parastatal and public-institution boards, in this sector and others, in natural resource management to ensure the highest levels of integrity, local community participation as well as diversity especially in terms of representation of youth and women.
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