By DAUDI MWENDA
The announcement of the Presidential election results by the IEBC was immediately met with violent protests in parts of Nairobi and the former Nyanza Province. The National Police Service, regrettably, responded to the riots and peace protests by using unreasonable force (live bullets), leading to the loss of innocent lives. This situation is totally unacceptable and has been rightly condemned by human rights activists.
The high-stakes election aroused high emotions. There are those who are gloating that their candidates emerged victorious as there are those who are indignant that the election victory of their candidate has been stolen for a record third time.
President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, in his acceptance speech, extended an olive branch to NASA leaders and supporters. This was commendable. However, more needs to be done as our people are not renowned for high emotional intelligence. Uhuru needs to be more magnanimous in victory and personally seek out NASA Presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Our local politics is almost wholly about perception and a televised meeting at State House or elsewhere between Uhuru and Raila sharing a cup of tea would work wonders and calm frayed nerves nationally. It is the responsibility of Uhuru as victor to rise above the situation and embrace his opponent(s). He should not let the situation get out of hand.
The IEBC should swiftly respond to NASA demands regarding the process of the election. NASA raised some weighty issues that cannot be wished away. A proposal could be that they invite an impartial IT expert to audit the IEBC election figures. They would then invite all Presidential candidates and their main agents to verify the figures.
Currently the IEBC appears to be playing to a piper’s tune and that piper is obviously Jubilee. Understandably, the IEBC commissioners may be fearful, even for their own lives. Their IT manager was murdered in still unexplained circumstances a few weeks ago. The caution they are currently displaying is being interpreted as a form of collusion with the Executive.
History will be very harsh on Uhuru should he fail to rise above the current din and commotion and heal a severely fractured nation. Like former President Mwai Kibaki, he may acquire “the dubious distinction of being a President who led Kenya to war”.
It is imperative that he moves swiftly as in the next few weeks Kenyans should expect to witness a shift in the “balance of power”. I can tell you for free that the elected Jubilee senators and MPs, as well as election losers, no longer owe him anything. Not even the duty of care as they have done everything expected of them by securing him a second term.
All eyes now turn to political dynamo and master strategist William Ruto, the Deputy President. This is his moment as he undoubtedly delivered Jubilee’s victory. Ninety-nine per cent of the Jubilee victors owe their victory and allegiance to Ruto. Indeed, they form his 2022 team. All Jubilee victors will want to align themselves to him to secure their movement to the next level.
This may reduce Uhuru to a lame duck President. He can, however, redeem himself by vigorously combating corruption, insecurity and the high cost of living, amongst other issues that are restraining Kenya from becoming a middle level economy.
Politically, however, he will be “dead in the water” as he owes too much to Ruto and may not want to upset the Jubilee apple cart. I salute and embrace Ruto, the new kingpin.