VIOLATION OF OUR NATIONAL VALUES THROUGH PROMOTION OF INTOLERANCE AND HATRED BY POLITICAL LEADERS
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS MONITORING IMPLEMENTATION OF NATIONAL VALUES AND PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNANCE
The Constitution of Kenya (CoK) 2010 contains a number of provisions aimed at securing national unity both procedural and substantive national values and principles of governance as enshrined in Article 10. Kenya is made up of more than 42 plus tribes who call Kenya their mother country and have equal opportunities of exercising their talents towards building one nation, Kenya. The main anchors of the national values and principles of governance are the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the various Acts of Parliament including Public Service Commission Act 2012, Fair and Administrative Action Act No. 4 of 2015, Leadership and Integrity Act of 2012, Public Officers Ethics Act 2002, and other policy documents such as the Mwongozo Code of Conduct for public service in Kenya.
It is therefore with profound sadness that we witnessed the uncultured move by political leaders from North Rift region, led by Governors Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu County and Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet County, to attempt to evict the newly appointed Acting Vice Chancellor of Moi University, Prof Laban Ayiro appointed as the Acting Vice Chancellor of the public institution.
It is shocking that in this age and under the current constitutional dispensation, we still have political leaders who imagine universities belong to a tribe, unaware that a university is a global institution imparting knowledge, skills, proper work ethic and attitudes with inclusive world view and harmony to all humanity. Education is one of the engines for national unity and we cannot allow divisive politics around it. Universities are universal and therefore should not be localized the way we are seeing. Any Kenyan, as long as he/she is qualified ought to feel free to offer expertise to head any institution of higher learning, notwithstanding foreigners (if they happen to be from a country external to Kenya) and none shall be denied or given such opportunity on the basis of their ethnic background. Furthermore, public universities are national institutions funded by the Kenya taxpayers and should thus reflect the face of Kenya.
It should be noted that Moi University statutes (Statute IV) provides that the University Council shall COMPETITIVELY identify and recommend a qualified person to be appointed as a Vice Chancellor in accordance with the Universities Act, by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Higher Education shall make the appointment. The actions of these leaders are not only unpatriotic, intolerant and divisive but also a serious breach of the Constitution which they all swore to uphold. We strongly condemned these actions and we must avoid future harassment of scholars. Universities should never be perpetuators of ethnic hegemony and profiling. This behaviour is totally unacceptable if we aspire to build a united Kenya.
It is of great concern that this is becoming a trend in our public universities as has been witnessed previously in the University of Eldoret and now Moi University. If this insensitive behaviour continues and remain unchecked, we will dismember the beloved country of Kenya. What this means is that there is ethnicization of academic institutions without regard to the provisions of Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya which provides for ALL Kenyans to observe and promote patriotism, national unity, the rule of law, equity, inclusiveness, good governance and non discrimination amongst others.
The magnitude and scale of ethnicization of our universities has reached unprecedented levels. We observe that this is not a good mind-set, especially during a pre-election year, in a highly cosmopolitan region.We therefore, DEMAND THAT:
1. The President of the Republic of Kenya to safeguard the Constitution he swore to protect by having fair opportunities availed to all citizens on the basis of merit. The Jubilee Government should ensure that negative traits of ethnicity, nepotism and stereotypes against the other are fully checked. We sense lack of political will to fully embrace the national values and principles of governance as enshrined in Article 10.
2. We call upon the Ministry of Education to thoroughly look into the question of ethnicity in public universities with the guidance of the reports on ethnic distribution in public institutions by the Public Service Commission and National Cohesion and Integration Commission, and initiate the process of de-ethnicisation of universities.
3. The Ministry of Education should publish all the necessary information on the recruitment of the Moi University Vice Chancellor to quell current speculations on the recruitment process and appointment of the Acting Vice Chancellor, and protect the integrity of the process.
4. The National Cohesion and Integration (NCIC), Directorate of National Values (DNV) and the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) should act immediately by prosecuting the individual politicians for inciting hatred among communities in North Rift and Western Kenya. We note some serious concern on conflict of interest in implementation of National values and principles of governance more so towards protecting political interests by the Constitutional Commissions.
5. The leaders that led the protests against Prof. Ayiro’s appointment contravened Chapter 6, Article 73 of the Constitution on responsibilities of leadership by not behaving in a manner that brings dignity to the offices they hold. We call upon the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to bar the politicians from holding elective public office.
6. We call upon all citizens of Kenya and of diverse ethnic communities to vote out tribal and ensure that every citizen is made and feels part of the community in a county and nationally, and derives benefits of belonging, and citizenship for the common good of Kenya. We recommend that Civil Society Organizations mandated with governance issues should raise awareness and understanding on the structures of the county and national government among the public and leadership. This is in view that even some elected officials seem not to understand the structures well and the public as well are at a loss.
7. We ask the Ombudsman to investigate and continue monitoring the conduct of politicians who are paid by tax payers’ money and in return offer hate instead of effective and efficient service delivery to Kenyans. 8. As Civil Society; we are committed to ensuring that both the public and leadership understand the structures of government both at National and County levels; and the Constitution of Kenya especially Article 10 and Chapter 6. It is obvious that even some Governors do not understand the structures. The Governors of Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo/ Marakwet Counties should understand that university education is a function under national government and therefore the right level of government to handle the Moi University issue.
The preamble of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 reminds us to be proud of our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, and be determined to live in peace and unity as one indivisible sovereign nation.
This statement is signed by; 1. Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) 2. Mzalendo Trust 3. Transparency International – Kenya (TI-Kenya) 4. Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) 5. Ecumenical Center for Justice and Peace (ECJP) 6. Community Based Development Services (COBADES0