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Politicians and the Direct Sovereignty Gamble
Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2017 @ 10:08:24 CST by kwpnews

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News Analysis (KWP):  Now that the electoral contest for the 2017 election cycle is over, a few disputable questions persist which appear to divide public opinion, yet  nobody seems to really understand the nexus between sovereignty and the peoples right to exercise direct sovereignty.



The opposition NASA coalition continues with its stand that they will not recognize the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the legitimate president of the Republic of kenya. NASA has subsequently invoked Article 1 and 2 of the constitution as the legal basis that they will use to circumvent the government of president Kenyatta and exercise direct sovereignty.

According to Koffi Annan “states are now widely understood to be instruments at the service of their peoples, and not vice versa. At the same time individual sovereignty— by which I mean the fundamental freedom of each individual, enshrined in the charter of the UN and subsequent international treaties—has been enhanced by a renewed and spreading consciousness of individual rights.”

The international thinking that is clearly expressed by Koffi Annan may be the political entry point to NASA's assertion of exercising direct sovereignty. On the other hand, the Kenyan  constitution is explicit in Article (2 ) that state authority can only be exercised  as stipulated in the constitution. The misconception that is currently being peddled by partisan political rhetoric is the manner in which the people of kenya are permitted to exercise direct sovereignty,in the Constitution .

Under international tradition Switzerland is foremost model in the exercise of direct decision making in the affairs of the state. The instrument that allows Swiss nationals the right to make direct decisions is the referendum. The Kenyan constitution provides similar mechanisms to participate in direct decision making through national referendum on questions or issues that have met the criteria for a national vote.
   
At its core existence of a state is anchored on a collective need to create rules and guidelines that define the manner and type of interaction that are allowable in society. In these interactions individuals have certain specific rights and responsibilities as members of the state. The Individual rights to exercise or donate sovereign rights to the constitutional bodies and offices is one of the rights Kenyan enjoy.

Similarly the constitution of kenya places collective responsibilities on the citizen in the same manner that it guarantees rights. If we were each existing as individuals, on our own, there would be no need to have a constitution that guides our lives or interactions with any other person for that matter. So it is important that the citizens respect and abide by the constitution in the same way they demand and and seek their rights under the same constitution.

Irrespective of every citizens political persuasion, the 2017 political contest was concluded by the constitutional mandated arbiter through the Supreme court judgment on the disputed election. Until here is another election for the presidency Uhuru Kenyatta is the elected president of kenya. NASA's position not to recognize Uhuru as the president of kenya is a political position without legal standing.

The decision to form peoples assemblies to champion the ideals and aspirations of NASA as a political  movement are consistent with constitutional requirement for public participation and consultation in government decision making. But NASA should not purport the peoples assembly to be anything other than what the constitutional arrangement permits. It is equally important to note the distinction between individual and national sovereignty.

Whereas NASA feels aggrieved by the outcome of the presidential contest, their decision as a party is rooted on individual rights  which are distinct from groups rights. Kenya is an amalgamation of both Jubilee and NASA  supporter with none superior than the other.    

However, the recent development, in what  appears to be the positive settling of the political ground, is  NASA 's decision to  vacate its earlier threat of swearing in Raila Odinga as president following the declaration of of Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner in the October 26 presidential election. This decision in itself Is a confirmation of the limits of constitutional arrangement that accord and limits NASA's options to dissent.

Kenya is a fast developing democracy with a capacity to lead and provide a regional example in how people and their government define the sovereignty space in a constitutional arrangement. The political pendulum in 2017 has swung in ways that very few people could conceive but the turmoil has passed its most critical phase. What Kenyans need to guard now more than ever is the independent space of constitutional offices and bodies.

Important lessons have been learned during the 2017 elections both in electoral matters and the judiciary, and Kenya cab build on those lessons to make the nation more robust in dealing with electoral disputes in the future. NASA can contribute to this effort by compiling information and views of improving electoral matters and avoiding future conflicts.


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