“I will do everything it takes to get my right,” these were the words of 76-year-old Mzee Willis Ogola Okendo, the founder of independence candidature in Kenyan elections.
When Lake Region Bulletin caught up with Mzee Okendo, he was furious.
On February 9, this year, Siaya High Court Judge, Roselyn Aburuli dismissed a case in which Mzee Okendo was seeking to have the court mediate a constitution amendment with regards to independent candidature in the Kenyan election.
According to Mzee Okendo, he wants politicians elected on independent tickets to be subjected to monthly subscription synonymous to the one political parties subject their elected members.
The money would then be submitted to his Rarieda Social Watch, Futa Magendo Chapter, a civil society organisation he rans.
But his first move has been hit hard, after Justice Aburuli dismissed his request.
“I observe that the plaint seeks for orders which this court is incapable of granting as this court has no power to question the constitutionality of a constitution provision. In addition, this court has no power or authority to amend the constitution or direct an amendment to the constitution or any part thereof by directing parliament to do so,” read the ruling in part.
Okendo’s dream of independent candidature
Mzee Okendo, a former primary school teacher claims that on the night of May 5, 2002, God spoke to him in a dream.
In the dream, God allegedly revealed to him the sufferings that Kenyans seeking political positions were undergoing in the hands of political parties.
God then directed him to jot down a proposal that Kenyans who want to seek elective seats can do so without necessarily being members of political parties.
“I woke up immediately, took a pen and paper, and jotted it down,” said Mzee Okendo.
The following day, he wrote to the National Assembly, asking the house to consider the proposal.
In correspondences between Mzee Okendo and the Office of the Clerk in the National Assembly, and seen by Lake Region Bulletin, Okendo is advised to present his proposal to the Constitution Review Commission, which he does.
And with back and forth communication and follow ups, the commission considered Okendo’s proposal, which saw Section 34 (d) of the Constitution of Kenya which provided for all aspirants to be members of a political party scrap off.
And in 2010, Okendo’s proposal found its way into the new Constitution, giving Kenyans the much needed breather.
Okendo receives recognition
The Constitutional Review Commission even recognised Mzee Okendo as one of the people who contributed immensely to the new Constitution.
And the past two elections under the new constitution has seen a growing number of independent candidates, and now Mzee Okendo is seeking one more thing; compensation by anyone seeking elective position on independent ticket.
According to Okendo, the National Assembly should come up with a law to guide the subscription fee.
Once elected, the leaders would then have some money deducted from their salaries every month, and the money partly advanced to Okendo’s organization.
He says part of the money can go to the government and help with strengthening democracy.
Mzee Okendo begun the journey of seeking this amendment into the law mid last year, writing to Parliament to consider the same.
But when he saw the Parliament a bit slow, he moved to Siaya High Court, but he was unlucky, after the judge dismissed his request.
He has now written to Chief Justice Martha Koome, seeking her intervention to ensure that his ‘rights’ are not stumped upon.
“I will do everything it takes to get my right,” he said.