People Daily

We must all put our country’s interest first

Sam Nyamweya

The political situation in the country is of grave concern to every Kenyan of goodwill, regardless of their political affiliation. Kenyans are rightly worried about the path we are taking as a country.

On September 1, the Supreme Court ordered a fresh presidential election after declaring that the August 8 election failed to meet the required constitutional threshold and applicable laws.

The 60-day window the judges gave, according to Article 140 of the Constitution, is almost ending. A lot has happened over this period causing considerable uncertainty.

Elections are meant to unite citizens because it is through that process that we get leaders who will guide the nation. That, therefore, underscores the sanctity of the electoral process despite the fact that democracy is exercised through political contest. Political inclinations must not, however, be the cause of division as is the case currently in Kenya.

The country is sharply divided, with one side supporting Jubilee Party and the other backing the National Super Alliance (Nasa). While it is not wrong to support any side of the political divide, it is against the spirit of our nationhood to adopt hardline positions, like we are doing at the moment, resulting in uncertainty about the future of the country.

Elections come and go, just as politicians last for a season. But the country remains. That is why no effort should be spared in guarding against the risk of destroying the country because of the election.

We are facing the edge of a cliff if we are not careful with today’s exercise. Yesterday, while the Supreme Court lacked a quorum to deliver a ruling on an application by three voters who were seeking to have the fresh election postponed, High Court Judge George Odunga paved the way for a fresh challenge to the outcome of the exercise when he declared the gazettement of returning officers and their deputies on October 12 illegal on account that presidential candidates were not consulted.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga was also expected to make an announcement on the way forward for the opposition. Regardless of these twists and turns, we must agree on one thing.

The extended electioneering is hurting the economy, jobs are being lost and negative ethnicity is being entrenched even among young people. Schools have had to close early and even in sports, which would be a unifying factor in such circumstances as we find ourselves in, nothing good seems to be happening.

The Safari Sevens Rugby, for instance, has had to be postponed due to political uncertainty while an international cricket match, which Kenya was to host, was shifted to another country. We also lost the African Nations Championships (CHAN) due in part to the unstable political atmosphere.

It is my view that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila still have an Opportunity to put the country’s interest first and seek an amicable solution to this stalemate.

Even before then, we need to preach peace and tranquillity as the bare minimum to demonstrate that we are a country that will weather any storm and as a means of giving investors the confidence they need to set up enterprises in our country.

By so doing, we shall have cooled the political temperatures and give the international community reasons to continue embracing and work with us. Failure to stand for peace and give dialogue a chance might plunge this country into a worse situation.

Let us respect each other’s diversity and political opinion and embrace each other as citizens of one country and children of one God with inherent rights. Those who want to vote should be allowed to vote without any hindrance and those who do not wish to vote should exercise that right without any intimidation.

The outcome of the election must be one that will leave us all as one people, respectful of each other’s rights and patriotic enough to let the country move forward. After all, we are all Kenyans.

To President Uhuru and Raila, we love you as Kenyans and we know and appreciate what you have done for this country but we are calling on you to guide your supporters in the right direction.

Your individual ambitions should not be fulfilled through bloodshed or instability because those innocent lives matter and there may ultimately be no people to lead or country to head if you do not navigate your supporters through this uncharted political and legal path to deliver our people to the promise of one nation, one people. Whatever happens, we need Peace. Let’s preach Peace. —The writer is a former chairman of the Football Kenya Federation

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