By Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda, Nairobi
One vital input I get free on my daily work as I criss-cross the country and the region lately is a lot of free information from the common man and also from the high of the society who are in business, politics , non governmental organisations, pursuing careers, and foreigners as well. I can tell with certainty that very many people are quite knowledgeable of what is going on in the country and the region. For instance Kenya is on the threshold of another critical presidential transition and I can vouch that a good number of people are quite focused on events between now and then.
To put the 2012 transition poll in perspective revisiting the past would be in order. In 2002 there was quite an apprehension on the transition from the long serving and now retired president Daniel Arap Moi. After the long reign and KANU’s stranglehold on power few believed Moi would hand over power especially in a continent where leaders are quite notorious on their lifelong hold onto power. I do think Moi made a surprise when he peacefully handed over and true to his word went to his home and still in Kenya. This should be the same expectation on president Kibaki.
Methinks Kibaki has had his share of success and failures like any human being and the transition to retirement shouldn’t be scary. The rapid positive changes in the economy, infrastructural developments and the passage of the new constitution are pillars to his legacy. Nonetheless Kibaki has a lot of unfinished business such as the full implementation of the constitution with passage of requisite laws through the legislature is still pending. This is what his focus should be on. The person who should inherit his mantle and hence his successor should be of lesser concern. The critical cog should be adequate measures and systems should be in place to ensure a smooth transition through a free and fair election. The rest is quite subsidiary or even un-necessary for him to secure a honourable legacy.
Kibaki has nothing to loose in his succession provided he ensures an organised and peaceful transition. The noise and circus propagated by some of his lieutenants and close allies don’t matter as what is critical to him and his legacy is a peaceful united nation. Obviously Kenya is still a troubled nation but he cant hope to cure all the ills that quickly and therefore he would rather complete his term on a high note and the future will take care of itself through better systems and leadership. Crucial to him is to leave a united nation.
Critically also we would rather have an earlier election as provided by the new constitution. What Kenyan Mps are forgetting is that most of Kenyans are just tired of their incessant circus of parochial politics. The earlier the Mps leave the better for the nation. What t the Mps forget is that the behaviour of some of them is just making the Kenyan nation look quite shoddy. It does not matter even if we will have another bunch of cheerleaders as Kenya is adept to . Sometimes people get the leaders they deserve and that there are challenges in leadership in Kenya is a symptom of a society dubiously in self denial.
Nonetheless, as is often the case during elections, majority of the Mps loose their seats. And the forthcoming election will not be any different. As a country it is better for them to leave to face another election sooner and this would be appropriately in August next year. It doesn’t matter the cost to the tax payers its must better to have this lot leave, we set in to a new political dispensation which is inevitable with the realisation of the new constitution.
There are a few spectacular leaders among the political class. The only big challenge is that the polluted political environment, tribalism and corruption hinder progress of some of the progressive leaders in politics and others who would be in politics to help the dear nation. What has continuously happened is the deep rot in our society continues to render rudderless leaders some of whom are professional tribalists and corruption captains.
But may it as it is the bottom-line is that the tide for repaid changes is on. Nobody thought that the Arabs would rise against their oppressive regimes . Now the force of change sweeping across the Arab world is un-stoppable. Similarly Kenya is gradually changing and the monstrosity of con politics and leaders taking the population for a ride will cease. Kindly lets have the next poll in August 2012. It would be a beginning of tidying the political room.
The writer is a Consultant and a Researcher working for a Not for Profit Organisation in Kenya.