Constitution making in Kenya: Where did our scientists go?

The Kenyan scientific community is silent. While everyone else is shouting on rooftops about how the constitution impacts on them, not a single researcher is coming out to say whether or not it protects their interests.

Maybe scientists are modest. Maybe they are not interested in whatever gets into the supreme law of the land. Or does this mean that science and constitutional matters do not mix?

While some groups of medics have come out to add their voices to the constitutional debate especially on the touchy issue of abortion, it is still unclear if there is any way that the constitution will impact on the future of science in the country.

By the way, the word science is only mentioned twice in the draft constitution, under Culture and the State commits to recognize its role in the nation’s development. With the central role that scientific and technological innovation plays in economic development, it is no little wonder that it is not given prominence.

But how would it be given prominence if the scientists did not push for it? How, if they feel content to sit on the fence and stand on the sidelines? What has our own Science and Technology Council? May be it is the media that has given them a blackout!

The constitution making process is such an important one that leaving it in the hands of politicians could be disastrous.

Where did our scientists go?


About meshakenya

Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture in Kenya (MESHA) is an association of communicators who are specialized in science, environment, agriculture, health, technology and development reporting.
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3 Responses to Constitution making in Kenya: Where did our scientists go?

  1. This article makes very valid pointers concerning the deficient presence of the Kenyan science community in the constitution making process.

    But am of the opinion that this article should av come abit earlier when we were debating the draft and giving our views. If the scientific community didn’t make their contribution then, then it is 2late 2think they can do it now.

    I suggest they wait till the next time we r reviewing the proposed new constitution after it passes the 4th August 2010 plebiscite which am confident it will.

    However, it is worth noting that the proposed new constitution adequately recognises central role played by scientific research n innovation in the development of any state in the 21st century.

  2. Maryanne W. says:

    Just wondering – is there any MP whos professional background or specialization was in research, science or technology in the current Kenyan parliament? There are many gynaecologists, bishops, pastors, economists, land surveyors, etcetera etcetera, so they push their own agendas. Maybe if there was someone with a serious scientific background then your question would be answered.

    • meshakenya says:

      I agree with what Asaka has just said however, from our discussion it would be necessary that scientists also point to members of the public how gainful this new constitution is to promotion of science, not in a way of seeking amendment or insertions – simply put what does this constitution offer us? Maryanne raises the important question of who is who in the current parliament to help make science more visible, I know Prof Olweny who is a breeder, has been a researcher per excellence during his hey days at the university – his last posting was in Maseno University before he took up the suits of politics. He comes from a sugarcane growing belt and hence he should know better when it comes to the role of science in agriculture. For Riaga, I think CDC should have produced a handbook on the prominence given to research in the Constitution. But the burning question for me here is – is representation equal to illumination of issues that directly affect us? This largely depends on the forcefulness of the persons elected and upon the parties that put them forward. A lot of goodwill from the system must be secured.

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