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The vanity of sycophancy
By George Ajigo | Updated Mar 12, 2018 at 12:44 EAT
President Uhuru and Raila [File Image]
  • After the Harambee House meeting, it is clear to see there indeed are no permanent enemies in politics
  • Raila and Uhuru showed that their own walls are high enough to prevent the rest of us from peeping

‘No politician ever builds his fences so high that they can’t be comfortably straddled’, the Arkansas Gazette, which folded in 1991, once wrote. And nothing amply demonstrates this than the détente announced by President Kenyatta and his political nemesis, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga on Friday.

Since the handshake on the steps of Harambee House, reminiscent of that between former Prime Minister Odinga and retired President Kibaki exactly 10 years, 8 days to the day, analysts have been postulating the whys and wherefores of the meeting between perhaps the bitterest of foes which caught friend and foe unawares. The Long and short of it though is that as has often been said, there indeed are no permanent enemies in politics.

So while some of their supporters have erected around themselves walls so tall as to make it near impossible to reach out to the other side, the two protagonists clearly showed the rest of us that their own walls are only high enough to prevent the rest of us from peeping to see what goes on inside but not high enough that they cannot climb over to their perceived enemies’ side and make a deal!

So where does this leave the hordes of foot soldiers for whom the two are demigods? A couple Waheshimiwa have made and sustained political careers out of demonizing either protagonist.

So to what end did ordinary folk heed either leader to take or come near taking up arms against fellow ordinary folk from different ethnicity when the two, seemingly, have never been enemies at all! For, to one, the other is ‘my brother! And what of we?

Like the proverbial Mtego wa panya, the still-fresh-in-the-mind simmering tiff between the Kamba and Kikuyu blamed on incitement and which has led to destruction of property had begun to suck in waliohusika na wasiohusika when scores of unsuspecting motorists got stranded along the Nairobi – Nakuru highway after their vehicles’ tyres were deflated in acts of revenge and retaliation.

There have been other conflicts in the recent past between other communities as well, which have at their roots, differences in political positions and persuasions.

We had got to a point where communities ‘owned’ and jealously guarded public servants even when these are suspected of crime e.g. if caught with hands in the public till, abuse of office etc, in the name of defending ‘our own!’

Yet, these are only handful examples showing that the country was divided!

Now that the two protagonists have acknowledged the situation as disagreeable and must change, what can we expect going forward? Inclusivity, equal treatment before the law, non-discrimination in hiring, fair competition for the award of tenders, to name just but a few!

Have their followers taken the cue and begun to beat their swords into plowshares so that no tribe rises up against another, ever again!

Who shall lead a symbolic digital ‘hand-shaking ceremony’ to declare a ceasefire that will see a halt to the invectives across the political aisle on social media?

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