President's resolve to set Kenya on right path commendable
The launch of the BBI report might not be an instant-coffee kind of solution to the problems of the country.
But with the right motivation and goodwill, such as what the President has exhibited so far, the BBI launch can be the launch pad for our national take-off towards absolute unity and brotherhood.
A pessimist in one of the social media groups I subscribe to quipped this morning that the problems of the nation would have ended Wednesday if someone anyone courageous would have closed all the doors at the Bomas of Kenya and rounded up all those gathered and exported them to Siberia or some other far flung places and ensured they do not ever return.
The response on the group, which brings together about a hundred of us who were year mates during our undergraduate years at a local university some 15 years ago, was hilarious and would have been dismissed as comical had it not been discussing such a serious issue like national leadership.
But the message was clear: Many Kenyans believe the problems of the nation are a creation and product of bad politics and bad politicians. That is, in itself, bad enough. But it feels worse, if the speeches at the Wednesday Bomas gathering are anything to go by.
The politicians, the very people the country holds responsible for the mess and hardships Kenyans are witnessing, took turns at the podium and, like Catholics at the confession box, reminded the country that yes, we know we are the problem. One wonders, therefore, if they know they are the problem, why they just can’t stand down and let the country enjoy some calm!
One politician, however stood out and gave hope to the country by not only promising to change going forward but also assuring us that he has what it takes- the will and ability- to do it.
President Uhuru Kenyatta took it upon himself to remind the nation about what he has done in the past to ensure that those hell-bent to destroy the nation do not succeed.
To begin with, the President reminded us that the problems we are witnessing now are not new. They have been with us for a very long time. He told us how, in 1992, during and after the first multi-party elections after the repeal of the infamous Section 2 of the old constitution, Kenyans fought and many lives were lost. He also noted that the same thing happened after the 1997 general election.
In 2002, however, things were different. An election was held and it was celebration, joy and happiness all over. That there were no bloody post-election confrontations that year was not accidental. It wasn’t because there were no losers. It wasn’t because Kenyans, the same who had been fighting every after all the previous elections, had had an instant character transformation and had become- as the president said- suddenly mature.
No. It was because the first runner up, the only one with a substantial number of votes other than the declared winner, had the presence of mind and was gracious enough to concede defeat and tell his millions of supporters to keep cool and support the President-elect.
Five years later, during the 2007 elections, the country reverted to what seems to be our default settings. After the announcement of the results of the presidential vote, fire literally broke out in various parts of the country and in it a number of lives and millions of shillings in property were consumed. It took the intervention of the international community to stop what looked like a determined effort by Kenyans to wipe themselves off the face of the earth.
The launch of the BBI report might not be an instant-coffee kind of solution to the problems of the country. Likewise, contrary to what my comrades on the WhatsApp group and other Kenyans think, the entire political fraternity is not all devils waiting to devour us. There’s more.
With the right motivation and goodwill, such as what the President has exhibited so far, the BBI launch can be the launch pad for our national take-off towards absolute unity and brotherhood. Let’s give it all the support.
Sammy Kwinga is a Nairobi-based political scientist.