The much-awaited showdown in the Kenyan parliament was aborted when President Kibaki’s allies made a tactical retreat and prevailed on the President to withdraw a list of nominations to constitutional offices. The pro-Kibaki camp had earlier planned to initiate a motion to censure Speaker Kenneth Marende and overturn a ruling he made last week that rejected debate on the President’s nominations because they were unconstitutional.
What does this mean? well, for one, it adds to the growing list of historical references Kenyans now have in which the will of the people has won against unlimited executive authority. It also signals that the president’s camp cannot do it on their own. As I keep reiterating, Kenya may have already overcome the culture of wapende wasipende in which presidents and their men did whatever they wanted regardless of the consequences.
The events this afternoon are another step in the right direction in Kenya’s long match to constitutionalism and limited government.