The recent private meeting at Harambee house between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga was an important step in healing the country.
Much as what transpired behind the closed door, where the two leaders met and discussed, remains unknown, their public statements and body language immediately showed a great sense of commitment and seriousness to unify, heal and develop the country.
The fact that the two leaders highlighted national issues and even reiterated that Kenya is bigger than themselves shows that unlike what some people have been suggesting, the discussions they had weren’t about self-preservation. They, seemingly, had a genuine desire to bequeath to Kenyans a remarkable legacy.
The task of bequeathing a memorable name and legacy obviously preoccupies both leaders at the moment since the former Prime minister is in his political sunset years while on the other hand, President Uhuru Kenyatta is doing his last term as the country’s CEO.
Since the agenda that has united President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga is, as they themselves stated, the unity and betterment of our country, the other coalition partners in Nasa need to stop that small argument of not being consulted and instead stand with the two leaders in their praiseworthy decision.
Kenya is a country of great prospect and every leader who has toured our country has reminded us about that fact. From the retired US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis to President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania, we have been told how good our country is.
However, the leaders observed that ills such as negative ethnicity and corruption continue to hinder us from reaching our full national potential, which we are capable of achieving.
The good news, though, is that with political goodwill from the top leadership such issues can easily be dealt with. The unity between President Kenyatta and the opposition Chief Raila Odinga is likely to offer more political goodwill, inspiration, motivation and the trust needed to strengthen our country’s institutions and level of integrity and patriotism.
One institution where we have already seen a positive change after the Uhuru- Raila handshake is Parliament (both the National Assembly and the Senate).
Candidly speaking, legislators are now speaking soberly unlike before when they appeared radicalised to defend party positions even if it meant undressing, verbally abusing or physically fighting some of their colleagues.
Now that that crying shame is no more and its place has been taken by a tranquil and civil atmosphere, I am optimistic that parliamentarians would be able to achieve a lot that benefits Kenyans as a whole.
But generally, it is regrettably sad that a decade since the 2007-08 postelection violence occurred we have still not yet eliminated hatred, suspicions and divisions in our country. We were supposed to mark the decade with pride as a result of a strengthened national cohesion and attendant progress.
For this reason, the dialogue initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga should lead to effective solutions for ending the catalogue of entrenched problems that we have as a country.
They should as well pick up the already existing valuable information on the wrongs in our society and what needs to be done about them like the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission( TJRC) report for enhancing the corrective mechanisms they plan to institute.
Band-Aid measures should not be considered as solutions since they would only postpone our problems as a country. The fear to get such temporal remedies is even what is causing some Kenyans to be sceptical about the effectiveness of the current dialogue process.
It is also worth stating that there are two political schools of thoughts in our country, and Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta seem to be somehow their symbols. The first school of thought wants justice more than development and the other want the opposite. It would thus be important for the two leaders to work out a middle path to ensure an environment where both justice and development thrives in Kenya.
Martin Luther King Jr once said that “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”. We have practically seen the huge burden of hatred, bitterness and divisions as a country. It’s time to try and stick with love for our national betterment.