Let political rage and disunity end with 2022

DP Rigathi Gachagua addresses mourners during Eliud Matu Wamae's funeral at Giakaibei Catholic church in Mathira, Nyeri, on December 22, 2022. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Popular English rock band Black Sabbath has a best-ever album known as ‘Never say die.’ Released on September 29, 1978, the piece inspires boundless hope in those who refuse to give up despite pressures of society.

Giving up is an easier route, but isn’t an option. Kenyans’ shared pains and gains for a good purpose are a win for all. Never say die must be our philosophy in the New Year.

There are many things that divide us yet many equally unite us. The New Year, in my view, is a golden opportunity for citizens here and in the diaspora, to remind themselves of what they owe Kenya – the need to always chart a new course. Our story should be different. The resilience of the 54 million Kenyans will make the nation to thrive. In 2023, let the words of our national anthem - may we dwell in unity, peace and liberty…plenty be found within our borders - mean vastly more than imagined. 

Now, President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua should lead the way to our country’s bold march into a more progressive future without looking over their shoulders. If I were them, I would build unconditional alliances across the divide and give each Kenyan a sense of belonging in the Kenya Kwanza family.

It’s time to be big on hope and unity, not bitterness and disaffection arising from the divisive campaigns of 2022. In the New Year, a fresh start beyond the seething campaign anger mode would be fitting. Tongue-in-cheek quips against those who opposed their bid, like the sentiments against former President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Eldest State Lodge on Monday, are of no use now.

Ruto won against all odds. In 2023, his leadership must now overshadow many who fancied belittling him. He least needs allies who refuse to let him work with perceived rivals. He needs everyone to his corner, including foreign powers, multinationals and none state actors. In the Holy Book, Jesus himself emphasises the reality of reward in loving others who worked day and night to bring you down. Settling of scores, like what we recently saw against the ‘rebel’ electoral commissioners, is a worthless escapade.

All Kenyans, not just Uhuru, depend on President Ruto and his foot soldiers for innumerable things. With the campaigns done and dusted, all we need now is unwavering devotion to the finest norms of leadership, not bitterness.

Ruto and Gachagua should make gainful sacrifices, and serve with humility. We must unwaveringly rally behind them towards a powerful renaissance. They are equal to the task. ‘Baby Kenya’ is in their hands and 2023 will require them, with citizens’ support, to turn challenges into real opportunities, especially on the economy. 

If I were the President, I would feel free to modify my campaign pledges along the way depending on what works better as I lay emphasis on bipartisan cooperation. Most urgent, of course, would be lowering the cost of living. The poor and the middle class need jobs. There’s need to improve healthcare and revamp productivity of crucial sectors. Combating poverty within our borders must remain a moral imperative that requires all hand on the deck.  

In this column before we voted on August 9, I beseeched Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga to recall Prof George Saitoti’s philosophy that a nation will always be greater than an individual and that they must recall the sore sacrifices of our great forefathers.

This season, Kenyans must remember that good is always hard. We must seize the moment to embark on a journey that will fulfil the dreams of the fathers of the nation. What we need is unity of purpose. Happy New Year!

-The writer is an editor at The Standard. Twitter: @markoloo

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