It is now official that Raila Amolo Odinga, CORD’s presidential flag bearer, lost in the country’s general elections. The Supreme Court of Kenya in a verdict read by Dr Willy Mutunga, Kenya’s chief Justice, ruled that the 4th March’s elections were free and fair. It was puzzling to accept the fact that the results of other positions such as gubernatorial, senatorial and women representative were proper yet doubt the presidential ones. The six-judge bench’s unanimous decision, at last, brought the electoral tussles to rest. Now Kenya can move ahead.
It is time for the international community to hail Kenya’s democracy and respect the choice of Kenyans. President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will be sworn in on 9th April 2013, should now be congratulated and given support to run the country. Election losers and winners should come together as Kenyans and build their nation.
I know how much Raila Odinga struggled to see to it that Kenya enjoys democracy and human rights. He wanted to be part and parcel of this unfolding democratic nation. He tried his hand on the presidency three times to no avail. Again, is this the end as other say? Nope! I would like to advance what I will call the Kibaki-Wade theorem. This theorem is built on resilience and scheming to see to it that one wins presidency.
Although Odinga was criticized even faulted for taking the matter before the Supreme Court, legally speaking, he has nourished Kenya’s legal system by giving it a precedent. Such sentiments can be seen in another presidential candidate Martha Karua who was quoted as saying, "It is great that the first and most contested decision of the Supreme Court was unanimous. It is a good start for the court." So too, Odinga gave more credibility to the court and Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency. It must be underscored that Odinga exercised and enjoyed his constitutional right among other things. I know Odinga has what it takes. Given that Kenya has matured democratically, chances are he’ll be able to run for presidency once again. Looking at how Mwai Kibaki ruled for five years to end up being challenged, Odinga still has the chance to try again.
Now that the elections are over, Kenyans need to nurse peace. The new government should see to it that all causative agents of the 2007-08 imbroglios are addressed. Apart from enhancing rule of law, economic growth, reconciliation, accountability and transparency, the new regime needs to redress the victims of the post-election violence who are still languishing in refugee camps in the country. So too, the new regime should see to it that it respects and implements the new constitution that is credited for all the development recently witnessed in Kenya.
Raila Odinga needs to learn from other politicians who came before him. One of those politicians is Mwai Kibaki who ascended to power at the age of 72. So too, Abdoulaye Wade, former Senegalese president, ran for presidency for good 30 years. He clinched the presidency when he was a bit older than Kibaki and he was able to rule for two terms. Had he not been stopped, Wade wanted to run for a third term. Also former US president Ronald Reagan ran for presidency since 1968 to 1980 when he last won. Like Kibaki and Wade, Reagan won the presidency when he was in his 70s. If this was possible to those three among many, why then shouldn't Odinga go peacefully back to the drawing board and aim at the future?
Now that everything has been done according to the letter and spirit of the law, Kenyans should go back to work so that they can build their nation. President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended open arms to all the contestants and urged them to work with him to realise the Kenyan dream. Since Kenya is bigger than any individual, Odinga and his allies ought to cooperate with the government in power.
Source: The African Executive Magazine March 3, 2013.