Tone down political rhetoric and let the country heal
For those who had wearied of the incessant politicking about 2022, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s loud remonstration with politicians from his backyard on Sunday couldn’t have come at a better time.President Kenyatta angrily rebuked politicians (especially) from his Jubilee party during the Akorino National Convention in Nairobi for undermining his drive for unity and development. The political temperatures have been rising by the day. In fact, were it not that 2022 is a calendar year, visitors to Kenya would be excused to think that 2022 is the name of a popular person or place or even food. Yet 2022 is just the year for the next scheduled elections. Most importantly, these are the elections that will decide who becomes Kenya’s president after Uhuru Kenyatta completes his second and final term as the fourth president of the Republic of Kenya But then our politicians speak as if 2022 is next week or next month. Though we cannot even for a moment assume that the interim period before 2022 is a bubble where politics is not spoken or conducted, it is the rancour that 2022 is causing to the country that is worrisome. At the centre of it is the race to succeed President Kenyatta. Inevitably, Mr Kenyatta must exit the stage when his second and final term ends in 2022. The jostling for his succession is exposing the tenuous nature of our democracy and the brittleness of all political pacts. It is also exposing the powerful forces grinding against each other to the detriment of the country; and also, a failure by the political class to adequately plan for the future. Quite clearly, panic has set in and those in the political arena want to determine their future by whatever means. In spite of the debilitating effects of prolonged electioneering period to the economy and the fabric that holds us together, the politicians have succeeded to get the country back into a campaign mode with nearly 40 months to August 2022. One would therefore understand President Kenyatta’s anger, but also hasten to fault him for not reforming the politics despite enjoying a huge mandate. Nearing the half way of his second term, Mr Kenyatta seems to be looking for the silver bullet that will get things working for the country. Moreover, he seems hard-pressed to explain how he has spent the political capital he gained after closing ranks with former Prime Minister and opposition leader Raila Odinga. Indeed, the much-touted March 9, 2018 “Building Bridges” handshake between the two, to all intents and purposes, ought to have signalled an end to the hostilities that characterised the prolonged 2017 electioneering period that was punctuated by crude political competition. The proliferation of virulent ethnic sentiment and even threats of violence is frightening. The politicians don’t seem to realise that the business of keeping the peace is theirs also. Kenya’s problem is the lack of strong political parties with a clear strategy for the country. In truth, rather than serve as instruments to foster the national good, parties are vehicles for self-glorification and self-preservation. Parties as the bane of our politics. Over time, parties have submerged a corrosive culture of tribalism, nepotism and corruption in our society. \Indeed, our political formations have exaggerated the differences between our leaders by creating rancorous disputes that feed off irrational prejudice against those who don’t belong to our groups. What to do? Because our politicians and parties have constantly undermined the peace, stability and consequently held back the country’s progress, it would be wise for the politicians to step back and tone down the political rhetoric and let the country heal.