There is no doubt that Uhuru Kenyatta has with one stroke of genius changed the direction of Kenyan politics. We were hurtling down dangerously towards a political implosion that would have hurt this nation for decades to come. Our ethnocentric negativity was definitely going to destroy us and generations to come. With one stroke of genius, Uhuru and Raila have sort of managed to stop a truck whose failed brakes had kept it dangerously hurtling towards a crush. If there was a time that the interests of Kenya superseded those of individuals, that time was on Friday when Uhuru and Raila addressed a joint press conference to say; enough of negative ethnicity and exclusivity. It was indeed the golden handshake worth future references if the two meant good for this country.
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The rift between Kikuyu and Luo nations has seemed like a permanent feature of our political landscape, from the time of Jomo and Jaramogi in the 1960’s. With the exception of 2002 when Raila said Kibaki Tosha, the two communities have wielded great suspicion with elites from the two communities being the greatest beneficiaries. According to the Luo narrative, the rivalry can be traced way back in 60’s when Luo political genius Tom Mboya was assassinated in broad daylight. His death was squarely blamed on ‘Kiambu Mafia’ and by extension Kenyatta Senior. The subsequent deaths of Argwings Kodhek, Barrack Obama Senior and the detention of former Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga without trial further cemented this hatred between the two communities who dominated the affairs of this country at the dawn of independence.
Could Uhuru be the unannounced prince of peace? If this new found brotherhood is nurtured and allowed to flourish, President Uhuru shall have left a bigger than life legacy that was elusive to Kibaki, Moi, and his father Kenyatta. If he successfully did it with the Kalenjins, he still could do it with the Luo community. History could be repeating itself, every time these two communities merge; critical junctures have always been realized. The duo united in 1960s to achieve independence. They re-grouped again in 1990 and restored a multi-party democracy. In 2002 the duo united and routed KANU out of power. Most recently in 2010, they united again to pass the new constitution, there is no doubt this latest union may bring forth good fortunes to our country.
There are those who argue that Uhuru’s pact with Ruto was as a result of their tribulations at The Hague; but look at the benefits. Communities are coexisting more harmoniously than before when every electoral cycle brought with it unnecessary ethnic tensions and frictions in the Rift Valley. If politics can be used to build bridges and foster peaceful coexistence among communities, then it can be described as progressive. From time to time, history provides nations with extraordinary personalities who rise beyond petty parochial localisms to break new grounds for their people to trend on.
This reminds me of Nelson Mandela when he found himself with a momentous opportunity to negotiate with President Frederick De Klerk of the white National Party. Hardliner’s from both political divides were completely opposed to what they considered betrayal, but for Mandela and De Klerk, there was no turning back. Their decisions were resolute. They were to later be recognized for pragmatism and shared a Nobel Peace Prize. That South African situation although different from ours is an example of how political leaders can transform into statesmen.
With the kind of animosity that was prevailing, nothing could have been achieved. It now looks like Uhuru has wrapped it all with this Raila rapprochement and Kenya can now move as one. A story is told of how once a hyena requested his friend the hare to accompany him to a far village where he was visiting a bride. When they arrived, the bride’s father served the two with a sumptuous meal of honey grazed roasted pig ribs. As they enjoyed their meal, the beautiful bride was preparing herself to meet the prospective husband. The hyena in his usual greed was devouring the meat; pilling the bones close to the unsuspecting hare.
However, when the beautiful bride was asked by her father whom between the two she would marry, she majestically walked to where the hare was seated and embraced him. “This is my preferred bridegroom, if he eats this much, then it means he works as hard and we shall never lack food for our children”, she said as the bewildered hyena looked on. It was the moment he had been waiting for but his greed and mischief sold him out. That is the elephant in the room; if Uhuru allowed the busy bodies who made a political career out of bashing ‘his’ brother Raila plant suspicion over goodwill, he shall have kissed his legacy a goodbye. Borrowing from Marshall McLuhan; antipathy, dissimilarity of views, hate, contempt, can accompany true love. After all, there are no passengers on spaceship ‘Kenya’. We’re all crew. #KenyaMbele