Isaac Mwaura’s speech at the senate: flair in the storm

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Isaac Mwaura/photo courtesy

Today is a very historic day, indeed a very important occasion in the history of our parliamentary democracy. On 11th May 2021, on this floor, my seat was declared vacant following requests by the Jubilee Party to do so after the party had expelled me in an unprocedural manner, a decision that was upheld by the political parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT).

I decided to move to court because of the fact that my rights as provided for in our constitution under the bill of rights had been infringed. What followed was a long legal battle that has lasted for 7 months culminating into a judge met that found both the Jubilee Party’s and PPDT’s decisions to be both erroneous and unlawful. The resultant gazette notices and the purported replacement have since been quashed and can therefore not confer any rights. They have been declared null and void. This to me is the true test of our parliamentary democracy.

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I want to thank the almighty GOD for fighting for me all through this travesty of justice. This battle has been won on my knees. The book of 1st John 5:14 clearly states that “if we ask anything according to HIS will, HE will hear us. Further, in Job 14:7-9 it states that “at least there is hope for a tree. If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water, it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant”. I want to encourage anyone out there that there is a GOD of second chances.

Many people including my political detractors had written me off and thought that this was indeed the end of my political career. Others had appropriated progress and the essence of being unto themselves but I want to say to them that its only GOD who anoints, appoints and disappoints leaders. No man has that capacity.

Today is a win for the rule of law. As Meles Zenawi put it, “the rule of law is the basis for any democracy, and without the rule of law in democracy, you have chaos”. We cannot build the foundations of a state without the rule of law. Stockwall Day aptly puts it that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of GOD and the rule of law” I would want to reiterate the same by stating that Kenya is founded upon the supremacy of GOD and the rule of law”.

My being in the Senate today is unlikely. Unlikely because it has never happened in the history of this republic that a seat can be declared vacant, a replacement gazetted, yet a reinstatement is occasioned by a court ruling. This is a novelty, indeed a landmark ruling that sets precedence going forward in not only protecting the independence of parliament, but ensuring that nobody shall be victimized purely based on their political opinion or association. Article 38 of our Constitution gives every citizen the right to freedom of association and its therefore inconceivable that this can be criminalized to the extent that one ends up losing their seat in parliament. This precedent should therefore serve as a warning that our constitution will stand tall in ensuring that this democratic right is protected.

My political witch-hunt was fomented due to my clamor for equal opportunity for all Kenyans. This was born of my long struggle to represent the voiceless and underprivileged Kenyans on this floor and outside the chambers of this august house. This realization is occurred to me in a eureka moment that no matter how I fought for them to be included in society, their inclusion would only be token as long as the equal opportunity for all citizens wasn’t realized.

This calls upon all of us from our different walks of life to keep eternal vigilance, rise up and speak when such is infringed for inequality somewhere is inequality everywhere. Likewise freedom somewhere is freedom everywhere.

When we claim our freedom and equality, those who are used to privilege see this as oppression. We need to remind them that equality for all guarantees a safer environment for them as well as one doesn’t have to look over the shoulder depending on who wields power.

As I said before, my being here today is unlikely, indeed a young boy born nearly 40 years ago in Kiambu District hospital, to a single mother, who was abandoned on account of having a child who looked different on account of albinism. Yet I had a dream that one day I would become a respectable member of the society. My mother worked as a farm hand in our local MP’s shamba, lying down to sleep under a banana tree as she tilled the land with other women and men. When I was young, I had a dream that I would be a member of parliament. Many found this unachievable but I stand here today being the first person with albinism to serve both in the national assembly and senate.

To some, this opportunity to participate in decision-making on an equal basis with others means that the typical stereotype of the underprivileged must subsist. That we must remain meek, grateful, apologetic and reconciled to gratitude occasioned by the very opportunity to serve. I want to remind them that we have fought very hard to have this representation, and that the special seats are constitutional therefore not tokens to appease to political patronage. That due to the unfair nature of first past the post elections, political parties are only custodians but not owners of the process to guarantee representation of equal citizens who would otherwise not make it to be represented. As such, its of utmost importance that such space be robustly safeguarded in order to ensure active and full participation of the representatives of special interests groups in all of our legislatures in order to ensure to their constituents their human rights and fundamental freedoms through the very representation that is the essence of their presence in parliament.

Political Parties are the legal vehicles through which a group of likeminded individuals are able to capture power through legal means.

However, our political parties have had a history of not surviving the next general election, degenerating to become a pale shadow of their former selves. This is largely because of lack of internal party democracy that enables them to outgrow the founders syndrome.

Their founders see them as personal property rather than public institutions of our nascent democracy. Its therefore important to ensure that we continuously question the manner in which they are run and that such endeavors be protected by law in order to ensure that we have strong political parties such as in other jurisdictions that have been able to carry the vision of their country, lifting millions of people out of poverty the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and the two party systems of democrats vs republicans & labour vs conservatives in the US and UK come to mind. Kenya is essentially a defacto two party state only that we kill them and start new ones from the same material every 5 years. This recycling not only kills the careers of may good leaders, but it stunts the growth of our country towards sustained prosperity.

Our public institutions such as constitutional commissions and independent offices needn’t not cave in under political pressure to procure irregularities and illegalities. They should stand tall and defend their space since an institution is a rule that persists over time, despite who is in power.

They need to be populated with men and women of honor and courage and not spineless apoligists who are only too keen to suck up the whims of the powers that be or the appointing authority. They need to learn from our independent judiciary and to know that eve them, their rights too are protected by the constution through the rule of law.

To anyone out there whose rights and fundamental freedoms have been infringed upon, keep fighting. Keep questioning, keep looking for answer to the problem at hand, for it’s only in this way that human advancement and excellence is attained. It doesn’t matter the fear, intimidation, denial of privilege, name calling and mudslinging. Stand up, define yourself and do not allow to see yourself through the lenses of others. Show to the world the stuff that you are made off for it’s not only authentic and original, it’s the essence of the mosaic of our diversity; and that too is what makes the world go around and an interesting place to live.

To those who took the opportunity to body shame and call us out on the basis of morphology and physiology. I want to remind them the words of Martin Luther King Jr that no man should be judged by the color of their skin but on the content of their character. We are much more than the presentation that comes with basic appearance and our clarion is to put it out there that even if we don’t agree with you, we too have something to contribute towards making Kenya a great country, standing tall in the community and comity of nations.

Long live Kenya, Long live democracy through the rule of law, thanks be to the almighty GOD.

GOD bless Kenya!!

Nairobi

Senate

Ist December 2021 -8:08 am

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