kenya’s 10th parliament officially opens

The official opening of Kenya’s tenth parliament took place on Thursday afternoon amid high expectations of national reconciliation and healing. The president’s speech laid emphasis on the need to urgently amend the constitution in order to create the constitutional framework for the implementation of the deal that he signed a week ago with arch-rival Raila Odinga (It is important to note that since last Thursday these two have become bosom buddies, they are always smiling at each other in public. I hope this love-fest persists and extends to their lieutenants as well).

The ball is now in parliament’s court. The MPs need to expedite the enactment of the relevant laws to ensure that Kenyans have a speedy return to normalcy – the most needy now being the hundreds of thousands of IDPs who have been moved away from where they used to call home. I still think that it was a big mistake for the government to move people to their “ancestral homelands.” The government should have provided security for the people wherever they were even as the land problems are being addressed.

After the land issue is cleared (yeah, I am gonna be delusional for a moment), those that legitimately owned land should be guaranteed a right to return even though they may be returning to areas inhabited by people that speak a different language. I am also looking forward to reading the ethnic equality bill that is being rumored to be in the works. I hope they’ve designed so that we can finally do away with all the tribes and just have one nation of rational, law abiding citizens.

And as parliament looks at these issues we hope that they won’t be tempted to award themselves hefty pay increases primarily because Kenya already has too big of a government – and one that will increase with the creation of the post of a premier and two deputies.

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