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Life Reflections

Hard work that involves regional interests attracts outsiders’ attacks but so be it. None would flog a dead horse, anyway

By September 9, 2022June 6th, 2023No Comments

September 9, 2022

The Kenyan election has come and gone. And, for all the shivers it sent down our collective spine at one point, in the end it cruised to a smooth finish, thanks to some strong institutions and Kenyans’ cool. Kenyans, you did this region proud.

Many in the region depend on Kenya as the route of their exports and imports, apart from being a welcome member of the East African Community; thus our keen interest. When, therefore, the supreme court settled the differences in the electoral body and some political parties and that did not spark off any disruption, we heaved a sigh of relief. The fear of violence we had dreaded proved misplaced.

Many have seized on this chance to actually congratulate Kenyans on demonstrating maturity in democracy. And that’s in order.

So far, Kenyans have been holding elections on regular basis. And much as other elections have not been known to be precisely hunky-dory, this election has proved that they can get there. The rest is to hope that the elected leaders will deliver on the electorate’s expectations.

Because whereas exercising your right to vote is an indicator of democratic practice, it must be understood that the process of holding elections per se is nothing but that: a process.

It’s what that process brings that will be the measure of democracy. Democracy should especially be based on how the villager on the remotest ridge of the country is impacted. Will his/her lot improve? Will villagers in rich parts of the country gain as much as those in poor areas? Or the latter be given special attention and raised to the levels of the former?

Perhaps the most essential basis on which to build for Kenya to attain democratic practices is to start with what president-elect William Ruto has already fingered. Says he at a show that hosted him: “….my determination……is that we must bring this country together. Whatever the price……this country is going to be one……”

Many close watchers of Kenya will certainly be sceptical and take Ruto’s pledge as a pipe dream. But if truly he means what he says, he can pull it off. Many Kenyans, especially the youth, are definitely hankering for this, as can be observed in their social and mainstream media comments.

What is for sure, it will not be easy. The affinity to tribe has been so entrenched, especially by politicians, that it seems to be ingrained in the country’s DNA. It’s been around tribe that everything has been known to revolve. For votes, government posts, business favours, for everything, the facilitation to reach them has been through tribal connections.

A habit that, nonetheless, surprisingly and gladly suffered an uncharacteristic disruption in the last election, hoping it was not election apathy, actually. It was otherwise interesting to see vote-distribution not following tribal lines.

Achieving the unity of all Kenyans is possible and will certainly render them strong.

Of course, there are many other elephants in the room that’s Kenya and thinking that felling one alone, tribalism, will have sufficed to fell the rest of them all is going on a fool’s errand.

Take the canker of corruption. By his own admission, president-elect Ruto is from a humble family and earned his means to see him through school by selling chickens. After that, Pious Ruto has been known to have gone through the ranks of government employment until he secured the rewarding post of deputy president of the Republic.

How by this path he negotiated a way of garnering billionaire status should give him the wherewithal needed to lead a government that will render Kenya graft-free. Because as one of their sayings goes, fish starts to rot from the head. So, he knows these fish and should swing the broom of accountability from the top where big fish swim, before heading downwards.

If he can form a government that enforces strict transparency, accountability and citizen participation so that swift punitive action is taken where malpractice is unearthed, such a government will be able to realise his “hustler’s” “Bottom Up!” slogan. It should also consider seizing any ill-gotten gains. Whether these can finance that “Bottom Up” pledge and also rope in the humungous debt burden, his government will need time to chew over that one.

There should be no worry, though, considering how robust the Kenyan economy is. Kenya is also gifted with bright young male/female brains that can easily lick such a puzzle. Give them the space they need to operate in and they’ll hand you a country on SGR-speed transformation.

I come from a tiny space, Rwanda, whose capital city’s spotlessness president-elect Ruto vowed to emulate. That spotlessness is not only Kigali-deep (as in “skin-deep”). It’s Rwanda-deep, a country that started from zero but hit the ground running on anti-graft fight, accountability, abuse-of-power control, equality, transparency, accountability, citizen participation, rule of law, etc, and easily registered rapid growth.

As exemplar, you attract vociferous attacks from some outside the continent but who cares? After all, none would flog you if you were a dead horse! 

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