Lesson Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto should learn from Mwai Kibaki on handling political opponents

By Vivere Nandiemo

Migori, Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto should learn a major lesson from former president, Mwai Kibaki.

The manner in which the duo has handled its political nemesis, CORD, leaves a lot to be desired. One thing president Uhuru and his deputy Ruto should realise is that they don't have to respond to whatever CORD comes up with. They have to come to terms with the fact that they are leaders whom Kenyans are looking up to, to deliver on their promises.

Recently, as President Uhuru was responding to CORD leader Raila Odinga's calls for a referendum to alter the system of leadership in this country, he displayed raw emotional histrionics that were characteristic of campaigns ahead of March 4 election.

I expected that, as a president, Uhuru will conduct himself with utmost tolerance and sobriety because he is a symbol of national unity.

One of the greatest lessons they should from Kibaki is the power of silence. Occasionally, silence can be used as a powerful tool to fight off a rival.

This is the time President Uhuru should rise above petty partisan politics and rally Kenyans towards national development. As I watched him address the congregation at a church service I really wished he would not have said what he said -or at least not in such a tone- and steer clear of the current politics just like Kibaki would have done.

If I were to meet Uhuru and Ruto, I would advise them to desist from commenting on the March 4 election among other divisive political topics of the day.

I concur with Ruto that election losers should accept defeat and move on because this is one of the key tenets of democracy. However, I expected the deputy president to be the last person to utter such words. This really casts aspersions on the magnanimity of their jubilee coalition hence posing a threat to the fledgling post election national unity.

National Unity

I would wish to see the duo come out as national figures who are committed to reach out to all Kenyans in a bid to unite them. This cannot happen if they keep on engaging in a war of words with CORD. I do understand that at the end of the day they are politicians and at times they have to speak out but they can leave that to their foot soldiers.

Politically speaking, my crystal ball tells me that the Cord coalition may be making it a political strategy to engage the jubilee government in a war of words in order to distract them from delivering their election promises.

It is my prayer that the president lives up to his word when he said recently that he will focus on improving the lives of Kenyans and he will only be 'watching what the opposition has come up with on television at night' which is understood to mean that he will not bother to respond to whatever they say.

This is the time to build this nation. To work towards improving the lives of Kenyans. It time to create jobs, grow the economy by double digits, to develop our roads, improve our education, ensure food security in the country, implement devolution and Above all, this is the time for national healing and reconciliation. Nothing short of this is what Kenyans would wish to see.

-The writer is a teacher of English at Ikerege High School in Kuria, Migori County

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