Friday, 22 February 2013

When the man of all faiths is also a man of all fears

Dr. Willy Mutunga certainly needs to let go of some apparently ingrained old habits. Well, in their time, during the days of Agenda 4, the habit of public activism and rushing to the media with every minute detail was certainly useful to the cause, but now as a distinguished Chief Justice and nothing short of the Czar of Kenya when it comes to constitutional matters, in a country undergoing a transition, it really is beneath the CJ to rush to the public over what is clearly a misunderstanding of protocol and a badly written “poison pen” letter.  

Perhaps the man of all faiths should avoid listening to those voices in his earring which his faiths tell him are divine. It makes him appear irrational and an irrational Chief Justice is something this fragile country does not need mere days away from a very tense election. It all started in 2011 when Willy M. Mutunga confessed his myriad beliefs during a debacle of a vetting process by the JSC. Right then, we all should have picked up on the irrationality. Let’s face it. Islam and Christianity may appear to have the same roots in monotheism, but add witchcraft to that mix and you will find a very conflicted and disturbed mind.

It’s no surprise then that the CJ temporarily forgot that his nation was in a transitional period, a time when old protocols were yet to be abandoned in light of new constitutional dispensation. So when a hapless immigration agent stops him at the airport while following orders based on a circular, the CJ though rightly indignant at the inconvenience presented should at least have understood that there must have been a miscommunication between the different arms of government. After Major-General Michael Gichangi apologized to him, the CJ surely should have soberly accepted the apology and felt placated and vindicated enough to move on in building the nation. 

However, the man of all faiths showed us all where Nancy Baraza’s attitude of nose pulling and demanding that “you should know people” really came from. In what can only be termed a rant, the CJ announces to the public that he is indeed being threatened and harassed by the government. It was an alarming announcement to make, one that instead of increasing our confidence in the new dispensation and constitution during this transitional period rather polarized the nation even further.

Why cry wolf? Is the CJ indeed being harassed at all? No, it would seem not. The comedic irony of it all comes shortly after CORD demands the sacking of Francis Kimemia, when the Minister for Immigration himself states that he cannot sack the immigration agent involved as he was simply following orders from the circular. Is the CJ’s life threatened or harassed when he meets junior officials following orders? How laughable. Fear itself can be irrational, but fearing what did not happen is beyond irrational.  To quote Lemony Snicket, “There are two kinds of fears; rational fears and irrational fears.”  Lemony Snicket is the pen name of children’s biographer, novelist David Handler. It’s best to quote those who write for children when writing about the childish.

Maybe we picked a man who lacks the patience and humility needed to head our Supreme Court. It’s no wonder that Nancy Baraza was so arrogant at a shopping mall. It’s no wonder that judges can believe that ostentatious luxury vehicles are a constitutional entitlement. It’s no wonder that these members of the Judiciary who rightly should exemplify the perfection, sobriety and excellence of the law mainly exhibit miserable conceit, a vague grasp of constitutional matters and unworthy claim to liberties that ordinary Kenyans do not have.

It would do our CJ well to note that Kenyans are well aware of his activism days, and much as we appreciate the previous sacrifices he made on behalf of our nation, it would do him well to remain a steadfast, calm pillar of clear and judicious thinking that is not needlessly reactionary.

Let’s face it. Though our media has come a long way from the tyrannies of the Moi regime; we are still in our infancy stages when it comes to determining how to put across information to a mass audience that is semi-literate. The media often makes severe mistakes in this, and it becomes costly to the ordinary citizen, especially during the elections.  

Please your honor; do not help us make a mockery of this Judiciary. Certainly, consider the implications before rushing to make announcements about the different arms of a government in transition. Finally, please just accept an apology and be the bigger man.

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