Thursday, October 13, 2005

Where are our Federalist/anti-federalist papers?

Where are Our Federalist Papers?

Kenya has about one month to go before she decides herfuture, a critical decision lies ahead, shall we accept or reject the Wako draft of the constitution. Alot has been said and done over the last month, sincethe ECK announced the date of the referendum and thesymbols for the opposing sides.

It is rather disconcerting that what is a very critical decision has been reduced to a mere horserace between the Orange and Banana. The debate has degenerated to a level of personal invective, hyperbole, empty rhetoric and trite electioneering.This has served to distract Kenyans from the extremely important decision that lies ahead, the process has become one of fear mongering and character assassination, all issues that should not be part ofthe current debate. What is needed is a critical, fact based approach to the debate. The opposing sides should be appealing to Kenyans intellect and rational thought, rather thanour tribal dispensations and crass economic/political calculations.

The opposing sides should borrow a leaffrom the debate that existed in America prior to the adoption of the constitution from 1787 to 1788, where both sides of the debate (Federalists and Anti-Federalists ) took to publishing their views on the constitution to convince the people to adopt or reject the constitution. They relied on critical thought and analysis of the constitution to articulate their viewpoints and not appeals to personality cults and personal attacks , or tribal manipulation. This is what is needed in Kenya, a set of papers, speeches etc..that will convince Kenyans to vote Banana or Orange. Relying on crass electioneering detracts from the enormity of the task and cheapens the process ofconstitution making.

May the leaders of the various groups develop their own federalist and anti-federalist papers to convince Kenyans that their view is the right view.