The constitution is the supreme law of the land.
259. (1) This Constitution shall be interpreted in a manner that—
(a) promotes its purposes, values and principles;
(b) advances the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights;
(c) permits the development of the law; and
(d) contributes to good governance.
Changes to the constitution under the guise of changes to security laws are unconstitutional. The constitution is very clear about how it may be changed.
255. (1) A proposed amendment to this Constitution shall be enacted in accordance with Article 256 or 257, and approved in accordance with clause (2) by a referendum, if the amendment relates to any of the following matters—
(a) the supremacy of this Constitution;
(b) the territory of Kenya;
(c) the sovereignty of the people;
(d) the national values and principles of governance mentioned in Article 10 (2) (a) to (d).
(e) the Bill of Rights;
(f) the term of office of the president;
(g) the independence of the Judiciary and the commissions and independent offices to which Chapter Fifteen applies.
(h) the functions of Parliament;
(i) the objects, principles and structure of devolved government;
(j) the provisions of this Chapter.
(2) A proposed amendment shall be approved by a referendum under clause (1) if—
(a) at least twenty per cent of the registered voters in each of at least half of the counties vote in the referendum; and
(b) the amendment is supported by a simple majority of the citizens voting in the referendum.
(3) An amendment to this Constitution that does not relate to a matter mentioned in clause (1) shall be enacted either—
(a) by Parliament, in accordance with Article 256; or
(b) by the people and Parliament, in accordance with Article 257.
256. (1) A Bill to amend this Constitution—
(a) may be introduced in either House of Parliament;
(b) may not address any other matter apart from consequential amendments to legislation arising from the Bill;
(c) shall not be called for second reading in either House within ninety days after the first reading of the Bill in that House; and
(d) shall have been passed by Parliament when each House of Parliament has passed the Bill, in both its second and third￼readings, by not less than two-thirds of all the members of that House.
(2) Parliament shall publicise any Bill to amend this Constitution, and facilitate public discussion about the Bill.
(3) After Parliament passes a Bill to amend this Constitution, the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament shall jointly submit to the President—
(a) the Bill, for assent and publication; and
(b) a certificate that the Bill has been passed by Parliament in accordance with this Article.
(4) Subject to clause (5), the President shall assent to the Bill and cause it to be published within thirty days after the Bill is enacted by Parliament.
(5) If a Bill to amend this Constitution proposes an amendment relating to a matter mentioned in Article 255 (1)—
(a) the President shall, before assenting to the Bill, request the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to conduct, within ninety days, a national referendum for approval of the Bill; and
(b) within thirty days after the chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has certified to the President that the Bill has been approved in accordance with Article 255 (2), the President shall assent to the Bill and cause it to be published.
257. (1) An amendment to this Constitution may be proposed by a popular initiative signed by at least one million registered voters.
(2) A popular initiative for an amendment to this Constitution may be in the form of a general suggestion or a formulated draft Bill.
(3) If a popular initiative is in the form of a general suggestion, the promoters of that popular initiative shall formulate it into a draft Bill.
(4) The promoters of a popular initiative shall deliver the draft Bill and the supporting signatures to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which shall verify that the initiative is supported by at least one million registered voters.
(5) If the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is satisfied that the initiative meets the requirement of this Article, the Commission shall submit the draft Bill to each county assembly for consideration within three months after the date it was submitted by the Commission.
(6) If a county assembly approves the draft Bill within three months after the date it was submitted by the Commission, the speaker of the county assembly shall deliver a copy of the draft Bill jointly to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with a certificate that the county assembly has approved it.
(7) If a draft Bill has been approved by a majority of the county assemblies, it shall be introduced in Parliament without delay.
(8) A Bill under this Article is passed by Parliament if supported by a majority of the members of each House.
(9) If Parliament passes the Bill, it shall be submitted to the President for assent in accordance with Articles 256 (4) and (5).
(10) If either House of Parliament fails to pass the Bill, or the Bill relates to a matter mentioned in 255 (1), the proposed amendment shall be submitted to the people in a referendum under clause (10).
This is not my language. This is the language of the constitution. This matters.
258. (1) Every person has the right to institute court proceedings, claiming that this Constitution has been contravened, or is threatened with contravention.
(2) In addition to a person acting in their own interest, court proceedings under clause (1) may be instituted by—
(a) a person acting on behalf of another person who cannot act in their own name;
(b) a person acting as a member of, or in the interest of, a group or class of persons;
(c) a person acting in the public interest; or
(d) an association acting in the interest of one or more of its members.
We are in fractured times.
The Media is (must be singular) upset about those portions of the Security Bill Amendments that affect it. Other organizations are similarly upset about those portions of the Amendments that affect them.
Where is the global vision?
A global vision must resist the impulse to say “Kenya is bigger than any single person.” This approach refuses to value each human life, each individual, each person resident in or attached to Kenya.
The abstraction cannot take the place of the bodied enfleshments.
What vision of Kenya can place the value of each and every life resident here and attached to here at its center? That’s the vision worth pursuing.
Kenya should never “be bigger than,” because Kenya is precisely the value placed on each and every person within its borders and attached to it in some way.
Who speaks for the refugees whose worth as humans is being devalued?
Who speaks for the arrested, whose rights to a proper process are being taken away by legalized, indefinite detention?
Who speaks for due process when the process of acquiring evidence can no longer be challenged?
Who speaks against the class war instantiated by multiplying fines by factors of 10 and 100?
Who speaks about the illegal, unconstitutional laws being conferred on the presidency?
Who speaks for the right to privacy?
I am not hopeful.
Because the many who stood by as #kasaraniconcentrationcamp happened, the many who were silent, will remain silent. And, anyway, that ship has sailed. Little alarm was raised as Somalis were profiled, disaggregated, made to demonstrate loyalty to Kenya, and still abused.
The silence—it is here. Already, we are whispering, because the president’s honor and dignity cannot be assailed. A tweet is actionable.
This is fear.
This is intimidation.
This is the taking away of freedom.
It is wrong. It is bad. It is evil.