US bureau on African affairs right on rejecting Raila oath

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In regard to the prevailing political temperatures and ‘rumours’ of Raila Odinga having plans to swear himself in as a the President of Kenya,  I agree  with the stand of  the US Bureau-cum-Department of African affairs, especially and specifically for its rejecting Raila Odinga’s  plan to take oath of office as President. I endorse the stand by this department to the political leadership in Kenya, and join them in calling for priority to be given to dialogue and compensation of the families of those people that lost lives during the election demonstrations.

Indeed, it is a timely call and constructive political advice that needs to be embraced by the people of Kenya. This approach of dialogue, which would also in a way give justice to the dead, is much far better than the selfish stand which has made Raila Odinga to think of declaring himself president, and Uhuru Kenyatta to think of using mega-sized  police brutality on un-armed citizens as efforts  to scuttle Raila’s plans, as has happened before. The pertinent idea is that Raila and Uhuru must now rise above their personal whims to put the country on the path of nationalism and statehood, especially to compensate the families of those that were injured or those who died in the violent demonstrations during the elections.

Conscientious political thinking will tell you that Raila Odinga is only playing Machiavellian politics, which dictate that one should always keep the enemy busy. Practically then, he is only keeping Jubilee government busy by using propaganda of swearing himself as president; it is as practical a part Kenyan politics as any. The truth is that Raila Odinga will not swear himself in as the President of Kenya.

After the abortive Jamhuri Day plan, it is not clear if Raila will swear himself in as he has promised his followers. My take is that he is bluffing. Forget his ‘martyrdom’ declarations; the man is too cautious to take such a leap. If I were Uhuru Kenyatta, I would completely ignore such antics, and focus instead on holding dialogue with the country’s scattered leadership.

Political consciousness will have it as an irresponsibility that amounts to careless impeachment on Kenya’s good statehood and nationalism if the political society in Kenya will not condemn the deaths of Chris Musando, Samantha Pendo and Geoffrey, Mutinda, as well as scores of other Kenyans in Bungoma, Kakamega, Mathare, Kibera, Kisumu, Kawamgware, Baba Dogo and Jogoo Road. These are the Kenyan lives to be remembered with passion because they were lost as a matter of being crushed in the stampede of passionate scramble for political power by Kenya’s political class in 2017. Thus, it is the moral duty of those in power now to compensate the affected families. Failure to observe such simple humane gestures will make the future history to charge harshly the current society.

The current election hangovers that are now seen to be befuddling the  thinking of the people of Kenya only to leave some hating their political gods with mad passion cannot be a foundation whatsoever of patriotism; neither are they virtuous nationalism to the tribe. They can only create hopes of charges of treason on the part of some, and fantastic grudges on the part of others. That is certainly not the way to go.

The approaches taken by both Uhuru and Raila will not mature our democracy. If we continue on this path, we risk ending up with a bourgeoisie dictatorship that can only breed violence. At this point, we should not even think of 2022; rather, and as many have rightly pointed out, we must strive to make Kenya a place in which each and all citizens see the possibilities of living good and prosperous life. When we hear of counties passing bills to compel regional governments to give priority to locals in employment and placement – which is degenerating into private businesses in some areas, then we know we are treading dangerously close to becoming a failed state. Because while such legislation may not seem like much right now, it is tell-tale of a people so divided they cannot even stomach the idea of “others”.^

Alexander Opicho, Lodwar.

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