Why quest to change country from within is worth pursuing

I hereby proclaim the Personal Republic of Machariastan. Since secession talk is in fashion, I’m not going to be left behind.

I will also leave the good people of Kenya to their own devices, and exercise my rights to self-determination and freedom from dictatorship, undemocratic tendencies, discrimination, political and economic marginalisation, rigged elections, servitude and penury.

I have heard some warnings, even from supposedly learned lawyers, that proposing secession is criminal and could make one liable to arrest and prosecution.


That is an asinine legal position. Nowhere in the Constitution and the laws of Kenya is it a crime to debate or propose secession.

Such arguments belong to the era of the one-party police state that made it a crime to think outside the strictures imposed by a totalitarian regime.

They reflect the mid-1970s mindset of then Attorney-General Charles Njonjo, who declared that it was treasonable and punishable by the mandatory death sentence for anyone to imagine or contemplate the death of the President.

That was a very deliberate misstatement of the law, making it a criminal offence just to consider or discuss the fact that President Jomo Kenyatta was a mortal being and would sooner or later meet his maker.

It would be tragic, indeed, if Mr Njonjo’s successors in this day and age tried to apply such warped logic merely to satisfy their political overlords and terrorise contrarian viewpoints into silence.

The law may not provide a mechanism for secession, but nowhere does it make it a criminal offence to imagine, contemplate, debate or propose such a breakaway.
It’s just like how the law criminalises the cultivation, possession, sale and consumption of bhang (marijuana), but does not make it an offence to advocate or lobby for the legalisation of the laughter herb.

Let us celebrate the simple fact that we have the right to discuss secession, seek the presidency, dance and march in the streets, and do so many other things that would have landed us in jail during the dark days when the political police ruled.

Now that the simple principle is out of the way, let’s get back to the issue at hand.

Divorce is never an easy option under any circumstances.

It is a last resort, and confirmation that all efforts towards resolution of differences have failed.

The two parties have talked and failed to find common ground.

Close family friends, relatives and elders from both sides, the clergy, and other concerned persons have tried to intercede to no avail.

When one party decides enough is enough and determines it is time to walk away, that is a very grave and final step.

It is not something to be approached as casually as Hollywood stars Richard Burton and Liz Taylor did with their series of marriages, divorces and remarriages.

When I contemplate secession, I really must be at the end of my tether.

In the first place, I really ought to have had very good reasons for seeking to walk, and finally concluded that no amount of persuasion, negotiations or mediation would address my grievances.

It is not a decision I should make rashly out of pique that I did not get my way in some internal contest.

Neither is it something that I should merely brandish as blackmail, while still pursuing whatever it was I was seeking in the first place, failure to attain which I threaten to walk away to or launch street protests.

If, perchance, I finally get my way through established mechanisms and legitimately clinch the ultimate prize, will that make me reconsider my secessionist goal?

If I get the office I sought all along, will that provide me the platform to address the bigger and more serious issues, beyond the quest for office, that make me feel unwanted, ignored and generally not given a fair chance to rise to my potential?

As long as I am still pursuing my quest to cure and transform Kenya from within, that means I have not totally given up, and perhaps ought to put on hold my secession threat.

I will not yet proclaim myself President of my Personal Republic of Machariastan, but will continue to demand with all the force I can muster that my grievances be addressed.

Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @MachariaGaitho

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