Kenya’s Newfound Political Cooperation Revives Hopes of Peace
There is new hope of settling the post-electoral crisis in Kenya which has left the country in a political quagmire for several months now. This newfound ambition has been revived following a historic meeting between the two main political contenders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main rival, opposition strongman, Raila Odinga.
According to the BBC, both men appeared on state television on Friday, March 9 after the meeting to declare their intensions of working together to bring an end to the situation which has been dragging the East African giant into the mud. President Kenyatta is quoted as having said, “We will begin a process of discussing what ails us and what creates division amongst us.” In the words of Mr Odinga, the “time to resolve our differences” is now. Even though reactions are yet awaited, it is expected that this can transform Kenya’s political landscape and pave a way forward for the country.
Since the presidential elections last October 2017, which the main opposition party flag bearer, Raila Odinga boycotted, the situation in Kenya has intensified with more than 150 persons killed. However, with the two main parties in the conflict meeting for the first time after the incidence, there is hope that Kenya can trace a better way forward. The conflict could never have been managed or solved by any other person except those directly involved in it. And putting aside their political ego and working together for the sake of the nation is an example to be followed by other African countries. It is the best time for such talks to take place before the situation escalates into something similar to the post-2007 elections. The meeting of Kenyatta and Odinga is one of the biggest political victories of 2018, as both personalities have shown proof of political maturity and a love for their nation over a love for their pocketbooks. This is a ticket for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In August 2017, Presidential elections were organized in Kenya where the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner. However, a Supreme Court Order canceled the elections and called for a rerun. In October, Raila Odinga boycotted the pools sighting irregularities. However, the election took place and the incumbent, Kenyatta was declared winner. In November, President Kenyatta was therefore sworn in for a second five year mandate in a ceremony attended by some Heads of States. In January 2018, Raila Odinga staged a mock-swearing in ceremony where he declared himself the “people’s president.” The ceremony was also heavily attended by thousands of Kenyans and this signaled the real beginning of another political gymnastic. At least one MP was arrested and even deported to a third country and three private television channels were suspended for their live coverage of the ceremony. This created an impasse reminiscent of the 2007 situation which left more than 1000 persons dead.
With the meeting of the two strongmen, the future of Kenya seems promising. They did not wait for international actors to come in and impose ready-made solutions but they are giving the Kenyan problem a Kenyan solution. This is an example for countries like South Sudan, Cameroon, and Congo where the pride of politicians and self interests are preventing them from discussing the future of the country which is causing more bloodshed every day.
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