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As we go to elections let us think about consequences of leaders we shall elect

By - | February 2nd 2013 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

It is not that we love some individuals less. It is rather that we love Kenya more. We, accordingly, must remain concerned about the roadmap to March 4 elections and the possible aftermath. For, it should never be said that the oracles went silent. That we became complicit during the country’s hour of need.

We have entered the kind of season in which Wole Soyinka says the good man dies. The man dies in everyone who knows that things are not right and yet pretends that they are right. Alternatively, the dying man keeps quiet when he should be saying that things are wrong.

Kenya now has the final raft of presidential candidates for March 4.

However we vote, there will be repercussions. I have previously endorsed Raila Odinga. I have said that he was the face of change, a man living on the right side of history. Yet my man will have to do better. Let us agree that the ODM nominations in Luo Nyanza were disgraceful. Beyond that, we have seen that even some of those who relented at the primaries have found their way back through the backdoor. This is to scorn the electorate. Such is impunity in its infancy. My candidate will be hard placed to defend his democratic credentials. When you are the party leader and your brother who has lost – for Oburu Oginga lost in Siaya – finds his way back through a list that belongs to special interests, you harm your credentials. And there have been others. Elizabeth Ongoro was dignified in rejecting someone else’s ticket after her Senate ticket was sneaked to Bishop Margaret Wanjiru. Whatever the strategic merits, there are serious integrity questions here. I am surprised that Bishop Wanjiuu seems to sit well with her conscience.

The Prime Minister was quick to state that nomination anomalies happened everywhere. He blamed the media for laying “too much emphasis on ODM nominations.” But it cannot be done that way. Raila Odinga is the brand. The others are not. They have never pretended to represent reform of democracy. Some have been prancing around with empty Deputy Premiership the way some fellow proudly prances around in torn underwear.

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I am disappointed. The PM cannot take solace in the knowledge that someone has torn political underwear, too. ODM must style up in what is left of the campaign. The last thing they need is bashing the media. You cannot win that one. It will cost you other things, too.

But let us shift to the Jubilee Alliance. Uhuru Kenyatta will want to consider toning down his anger. Or is it the media, again, electing footage that depicts him as an irate candidate? Unremitting public displays of petulance on the part of a presidential candidate are frightful. Someone needs to ask Uhuru to be less pugnacious in message and style. He should also stop looking glaze eyed. Change of diet?

The country will meanwhile begin reckoning with the possibility of a Jubilee Presidency. It is possible, if that is the majority choice. Denial will not do. What then are the implications?

First, that the country could actually be governed from the International Criminal Court (ICC). William Ruto says they will govern through the Internet. He needs to get serious. This is not a playstation affair. We are talking of matters of State. Have we really thought of the magnitude of what we are about to do?

My reading is that Uhuru and Ruto will defy the ICC summonses. Uhuru keeps saying that he does not care about foreigners. He talks of ‘sovereignty’ at every turn. ‘President’ Uhuru will not go to The Hague. No. The backlash will be apocalyptic. The sanctions will descend like the typhoon. The shilling will sink into free fall.

I see it plummeting to anywhere between Sh500 up to Sh1,000 to the dollar, within the first twelve months. It happened in Harare. Nothing stops it from happening here. Think of this – the international community blacklists firms working with Kenya. Who wants that? International flights to Nairobi cease overnight as investors pull out to save their commercial skin. UN offices in Gigiri scale down to the essential minimum. Real estate allover joins the shilling in obsolescence and free fall.

But that is not all. Your coffee, flowers, French beans, tea and the lot are banned. Your tea bonus is a thing of the past. Shopping malls become ghost towns. Nobody has disposable cash for the luxury they sell there. Indeed, even essentials are unaffordable. Bread costs ten dollars. Which is to say Sh10,000. Fuel shortages and queues, motor vehicular spare part shortages; massive layoffs, insecurity as people strive to stay alive. Konza town stillborn. Schools, hospitals dead.

This is not doomsday narrative. I once returned from Harare in August 1998 to write in The Standard on Sunday that Zimbabwe was going to sink into socio-economic disaster. The naysayers said, “Behold, an Afro pessimist.” Fifteen years later, the Finance Minister Tendaye Biti tells the world that the government has only USD 217.00 (yes, two hundred and seventeen dollars) on the account. Nobody can say for sure that Kenyatta and Ruto are guilty of the crimes they are accused of. Natural justice demands that they must be tried. God forbid that we should try and condemn them in the Press. Yet, the stark realities of a Kenyatta/Ruto presidency are worse than the picture painted here.

What of the rest of us? If we should engage in the madness of 2007/2008 again, the world will be least bothered. In 2008, we caught the Great Lakes region unawares. They have since opened up to the coast through Moshi, Tabora and Dar. Besides, all the ferries on Lake Victoria now ply between Tanzania and Uganda.

 We can murder each other to extinction for all they care. Over the next four weeks, we must ask ourselves some very hard questions about this country’s future. CORD will want to convince us that they are not Kanu by another name. The rest of us want to ask ourselves how much we love Kenya.

The writer is a publishing editor and special consultant and advisor on public relations and media relations


The Hague elections Kanu Wole Soyinka ODM nominations
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