A week after the big party, several thoughts on where Kenya stands with the new constitution.
First, I do think the successful referendum and passage of the new constitution is consequential in itself. Kenyans got to make up their minds, go vote, and their votes counted. This process can work in Kenya.
In this sense, the Government of National Unity has carried out one of the core functions under the original post-election agreement from 2008 and compared to how things looked in December of last year when I started this blog, the GNU has made a better account of itself not so much for affirmative acts, but for letting the process established work.
These things said, the Constitution provides an outline of the “functionalities” needed for a “Second Republic”–writing working “code” to execute these in practice is the work at hand.
While the passage of the Constitution itself is a long-awaited breakthrough, I did chose to quote in my “historic day” post from the Standard article noting the highest expectations since the election of the NARC ticket in 2002 with full appreciation for the cautionary tale to be had from looking at how those expectations were dashed. Right now the new Constitution is a milestone; what else it will be is to be determined.
A new Republic with require people as well as systems. Right now, we have in Kenya the same people in political power. Their judgment is reflected in the how they managed to taint the celebration of the accomplishment of the country in passing the new Constitution. Apparently the thinking went like this: “We are having a picnic. What is a picnic without a skunk? Let’s invite Bashir!”