In Summary
  • We need a system whereby all ethnic groups produce a leader and each one of these leaders select their boss.
  • The Bill of Rights should have been based on the context whereby consideration was given to the impacts of an individual’s rights on other people.

As the top A-Level candidate at Sacred Heart Kyeni Girls High School in 1979, I should have become a lawyer. I did not.

My career adviser asked me to choose teaching, saying it is a good career for women. Teaching offers flexibility and mobility to wherever a future husband would be working. I heeded her advice.

And looking at Kenya’s justice system, I am glad I did not become a lawyer — the monetary benefits and prestige notwithstanding. It has failed us in many ways.

Going by media reports, most criminals get their way. Corruption cases take very long to be prosecuted and concluded, and criminals enjoy their freedom thanks to the work of good lawyers.

DIVERSITY

Murderers are granted bail because they are rich and powerful. Justice is tilted to the power of one’s pocket. Those with no money rot in jail as they don’t have good lawyers to represent them.

The lawyers who worked on our constitution failed us. They never seriously thought about the logic, norms and values of our former colonised society, whose values of indigeneity collide with the coloniser’s.

They ‘copy-pasted’ sections of other constitutions and packaged them as our new supreme law.

The Constitution does not reflect, for example, the need for coexistence of people of multiple ethnicities and different levels of articulation to the Western modernity and capitalist production.

DETACHED LAW

That is why groups are coming up with laws to control dairy production or stop the use of manure. Simply put, the elite have their way and the plight of ‘Wanjiku’ (common man) is ignored.

The article on the two-thirds gender rule, for instance, is flawed. Only two-thirds of elite women are in formal employment, according to a recent study by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The rest are traders, artisans and peasants. Which means that, even if the rule is passed, the majority of Kenyan women will never benefit from it.

Instead of creative articles to include ‘Wanjiku’ in Kenya’s development politics, lawyers crafted a constitution that favours elite women who fight for jobs with elite men.

REFORMS

Meanwhile, the real ‘Wanjiku’ suffers in Gikomba due to frequent fires for which no one is prosecuted or in an ill-equipped delivery room at Pumwani Maternity Hospital or a rural facility.

Yes, there are calls to reform the Constitution, but these are only meant to benefit the elite — mostly families that have always benefited from capitalist modernity.

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