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Political bickering a critical sign that Kenya is off the right track

By Standard Reporter | Published Tue, July 24th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 23rd 2018 at 22:43 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta in a past rally. [Photo/Courtesy]

Nearly five months after the acclaimed March 9 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his political nemesis Raila Odinga, things seems to be falling back to the same place they were.

The impact of the Building Bridges Initiative is yet to be felt.

Besides Raila Odinga’s chums and lackeys getting appointed to boards of parastatals and a muted Opposition, the heated political temperatures and the name-calling especially in the ruling Jubilee Party is eroding the dividend that would have accrued from the political truce.

There is proof that this coming together of the scions of two of Kenya’s foremost families had a positive impact on the economy. And for those who had wearied of the never-ending politics, the rapprochement couldn’t have come at a better time.

We had hoped to see loyal opposition and principled articulation of issues that confront Kenyans every day.

Alas, that has been replaced by muted voices. Nobody challenges or critiques official government position; not on how it intends to implement the Big 4 agenda or on such things as increased taxation. Or on the confirmed cases of racism and discrimination on the SGR.

The Opposition, ideally the government-in-waiting, has chosen to see no evil and hear no evil. Sadly, that has denied the country the much-needed oversight role to provide checks and balances.

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What is thriving is the politics of self-promotion and self-glorification geared towards President Kenyatta’s succession in 2022.

It is not hyperbole to aver that the country’s politics have taken a turn for worse. We have made a full cycle to the politics of attrition and ethnic mobilisation.

Whimpers from Deputy President William Ruto’s allies in the government signal torturous times ahead for the country.  Yet this is what Uhuru and Raila set out to cure on March 9.

With so much acrimony and needless contestation, it is tempting to conclude that the Building Bridges Initiative exists only on paper and on the lips of politicians.

Indeed, there is no smoke without fire. So what has gone wrong and how can the situation be remedied?

President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga should not imagine that they can sit by and wait out for things to quieten down. They ought to have realized that the handshake was symbolic and that the heavy-lifting needed to happen thereafter. It is pitiful that their focus has shifted giving room for the shenanigans we are currently witnessing.

Those two need to be reminded that the conditions that pushed the country to the precipice in 2007 still exist. Indications are, it could get worse. Let us not tempt fate.


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