As the saying goes, politicians will always be politicians. That is why I long made up my mind to simply let politicians play their games as I attend to the duties God has placed upon my weak shoulders. Though every once in a while, our paths converge at national platforms, it has been my deliberate choice to neither align myself to any of their ever-mutating parties, nor allow their theatrics to derail my life or vision. However, whenever such drama tends towards the breach of national peace, we are constrained by our divine duty to respectfully caution our leaders. One such time is now.
The recent spate of wrangling among our political leaders can only be considered unfortunate. Coming at a time when the nation is faced with more serious challenges such as drought and famine, this bickering is becoming a distraction and tending towards being destructive. In the last several months, the political rhetoric has been mainly toxic and has been growing worse by the day. Sadly, these negative themes have been strategically developed around what would otherwise be considered positive efforts to place our nation on a growth trajectory – the Handshake and the fight against graft.
To the ordinary Kenyan, the Handshake deal between the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta came as a highly welcome move towards national peace. This great initiative came at a time the nation was hanging on the brink of a precipice. For a nation that was about to implode, the unexpected picture of the two leaders standing on the steps of Harambee House, shaking hands in an apparent comradery, sent an instant wave of peace and tranquil across the land. Like a fire blanket, this simple act smothered the flames and quenched the embers that were burning in large sections of the nation.
No wonder it was hailed as a great act of statesmanship. A majority of Kenyans have therefore cared little whatever else the two leaders may have had up their sleeves as they shook hands. Yet, hardly a year later, the Handshake has been so politicised that it is threatening to shake the very foundations of national peace. We find ourselves where politicians are subtly forcing us to take sides on this matter – whether for or against the Handshake! It is a dichotomous strategy that politicians love and have used in times past to pit us against one another.
On the fight against corruption, Kenyans celebrated the new resolve by the President to tackle this age-old malady. The sight of great men and women, previously considered untouchable, being arraigned in court to answer charges of corruption, sent waves of exhilaration in the hearts of many Kenyans. There was high optimism as the net appeared to finally bring in the big fish – a matter that Kenyans have looked forward to for a long time. Whereas no convictions have been made against any of these suspects, hopes have been high in the belief that even the arrests alone may restrain some who may have been contemplating joining the gravy train.
Unfortunately, political groupings have taken to targeting each other with accusations and counter accusations on the graftwar. Some have labelled others as being more corrupt, even calling for the impeachment of specific leaders, but with no tangible evidence. Others have taken to personal attacks against the heads of the agencies charged with tackling the vice – especially the DCI, DPP and the Judiciary. Still others seem to see ethnic profiling in the whole exercise. The import is that in this imbroglio, the war against corruption is fast losing focus.
What is emerging is a political hijack of two initiatives that had become critical to our national wellbeing. Political louts have turned them into their weapons of warfare. The consequence is that the embers of hatred and flames of animosity are being stoked once again and national peace blatantly breached. There are already tell-tale signs of a nation ready for battle with itself. That is why every peace-loving Kenyan must arise and reject this grand guignol.
Political leaders must be told plainly that we are not ready to sacrifice the blood of innocent Kenyans in order to put them into power or rescue them from the anti-corruption noose. Kenyans care less about the political intrigues behind the Handshake or the corruption purge. What they need is a conducive and peaceful environment within which mama mboga can freely sell her wares to feed her family and educate her children. For this, we are ready to stand and be counted.