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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Councillors, me, President Kibaki and the Constitution Debate

Let me confess. On Friday, I came to the newsroom at seven not knowing that I had a ten o'clock appointment with President Kibaki. But it was right there in the diary.

The President was meeting councillors to push for the 'Yes' vote in the August 4 referendum. So, knowing a little about how presidential functions are organised, I was sure all the councillors were going to say 'Yes'. Poor me!

When the President strolled in with a coterie of his 'boys', the councillors started chanting. 'Pesa', as they clapped in the now unmistakably political rythm, the '1,2,3-- pa! pa! pa!'

Jane Kiyo, she of NTV, asked me "if these guys are mad!". I confidently told her that they couldn't be shouting "pesa" because if the intelligence was right, and the Head of State had been allowed to attend the event, then it was unlikely that the President would be embarrassed. I was wrong.

I was so sure that they weren't shouting 'PESA' but 'YES SIR'. So when I saw them rubbing the thumb on the index finger, I wondered what my ears were telling me. That's what always thinking 'that things will fall into place' doesn't make sense to all journalists...even on a day like Friday!

Anyway, they shouted 'No' even with a Sh5,000 payrise.

And today, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, again at the same meeting, with the same people, made my head spin, for he had those who were around sing 'YES'. Well, the councillors can enjoy the Sh5,000 until the next elections under the new Constitution and after that stay jobless. Where do they think we'll get the 15 per cent of National Revenue to be sent to counties if they do not get kicked out?
Ha! Too bad for them. But for now, shshshsh...development mashinani is crucial!

PS1: What is the big deal about a fake document circulating as the proposed Constitution? If the government's legal tenders (that bank note) can get printed in the backstreet, does the Central Bank of Kenya now mop up all the money in circulation? Parliament knows what it passed, the AG knows, the public is (hopefully) not confused, and the Committee of Experts is (hopefully) using the right document for civic education!

PS2:After heckling the President and shouting him down, these fellas change their mind? Strange things happen in politics! And one day is such a long time!

PS3: I think national security is key to the enjoyment of all other rights. That's what I think! What do you think?

PS4: There's this stage-managed move by some journalists on Friday to 'finish' the 'No' team. My goodness, I am so sure these are not part of the people that Kenyans have always voted in opinion polls as "the most trusted". Let me gather details and tell you about it.

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