Sunday, August 13, 2017

STRAIGHT TALK : The Kenyan face-off, what next now?


By Ally Saleh

The EAC had two general election in this month but most of the attention for sure was pegged on Kenya and not at all, and I mean not to all to Rwanda where President Paul Kagame was seeking re-election.

In Kenya, of course, President Uhuru Kenyatta was also an incumbent and was facing once again the giant of Kenya’s politics Raila Odinga after a face off in 2012. Raila also contested the 2007 elections that led to the fatal violence where over 1,000 were killed.

But, as we said, all eyes were in Kenya because many of us did not believe that the election in Rwanda had anything to do with democracy apart from that people were allowed to cast their votes. Otherwise, to many, it was a forgone conclusion that Kagame would win as he could not allow even a feeble challenge to stand against him.

In contrast, in Kenya it was Kenyatta fighting for his life, as Raila, once again, and probably for the last time now being 72 years old, for him to win presidency, which he was putting his part for the third time, but no luck. However, Odinga himself does not believe that lucky is against him and that is there is distance that is never covered between him and the presidency having tried with different partners and nothing has succeeded.

At least there was one time when he got the Prime Minister’s position, being the closest he went near the State House and his never say die supporters once again coming out in big numbers, but Kenyatta had larger numbers. Kenya has been like Zanzibar when it comes to polls and Odinga has been like Seif Sharif Hamad when it comes to achieving results, always have their victories stolen from them.

As many other times before, Raila this time around has been crying foul. He has faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) but also strongly pointing out the manipulation of tallying system under the body.

He has said he would not recognise the election results thus sending waves of fear that this might trigger violence all over Kenya especially sensitive areas in the Luo community and as we write this article this has started happening.

Also as we write reports are abound that Kenyans living in areas bordering Tanzania have also ready been crossing to save their necks.

It may be trickles now, but there could be floods later and at worst exodus. There could be thousands internal refugees as it was in 2012, culminating into key political leaders being charged with high crime in The Hague. We hope and pray that the two contesting sides, especially the winners, Jubilee Coalition, would listen to the claims and see how best to let the law function to solve such claims, as soon as possible in order to minimise harm.

We hope also the Jubilee Coalition would stretch an olive branch to the losers Nasa Coalition and come out with any proposal that would be accepted and which will tend to calm the situation and do the best to help Kenya settle after the elections.

Kenya, is a strategic partner to Tanzania, and many of us have been admiring their multi-party political system whereby parties have been operating freely with no state intervention and manipulation and we pray results should not cut that nation into two pieces. It was bad enough in 2012.

While we have no right to intervene but we would have the obligation to support if called in and we should provide such advice when needed with good faith because the stability and security of Kenya is to the advantage and Tanzania as well.

We hope Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyata and his party will see that Kenya needs them both but their followers need them more.