BY ANTHONY KAGIRI
I begin this blog by asking you to observe a minute’s silence for the six people who lost their lives at Uhuru Park last Sunday.
Among those killed was eight year-old Bravo Ingesi.
The lad had innocently joined a prayer crusade that also included a campaign against the Proposed Constitution.
At the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on Thursday, family, relatives, friends and church leaders congregated to pray for the departed Kenyans. As Bravo’s mum and relatives of other victims talked of their sorrow, they touched my heart.
The story of Bravo particularly moved me. He was a boy who at the tender age of eight carried the hope of his family. His mother had hoped that the youngster she has brought up amid financial challenges would liberate her family from poverty.
The stories of three victims were similar. They literally presented hope for their families but these were brutally cut short.
Sitting at the service, I hoped this marked the last time I had to listen to this type of heart-rending stories. In case we’ve forgotten, it’s just over two years since we lost over 1,000 Kenyans in the post election violence. Thousands more displaced at the time are still living in tents in camps.
Ethnic fighting has been a painful hallmark of the elections of 1992, 1997 and 2002. The referendum campaigns of 2005 also saw ethnic dimensions that reared their ugly head soon after the disputed 2007 polls.
The motive of last Sunday’s blast remains a mystery to all of us including the security organs but the fact that it took place in a charged campaign period opens it up to speculation. It cannot be ruled out that it could have everything to do with the Constitution debate.
I have said in an earlier blog that we need to seriously consider the consequences of the ongoing campaigns to the post-referendum Kenya.
I have followed closely the ongoing rallies by both the Yes and No camps and for sure this country is charged. Last Sunday’s prayer crusade at the Uhuru Park came exactly a month after the government-led Yes camp launched their campaign there. If the strength of each camp is judged by the crowds that attend, then the foes are each showing some muscle.
As we call on our police to grant us security, the tragedy behooves us to rise up above the occasion of the Constitution and remember that we are all Kenyans.
Whether Yes or No wins, we need to ensure we hold our country together. I don’t think our politicians will hold it together, but I believe in the power of the masses. I am looking for a revolution of the patriots…. Kenyans who will stand to be counted in ensuring peace prevails.
I have chosen to talk reconciliation. No more tough exchanges with those of the opposite camp. No more open judging or casting aspersions. It is time to heal this country.
My loyalty is to the land of my forefathers. I owe no allegiance to the politicians who have told me that ‘Kenya is in her constitutional moment.’ Similarly I am not obligated to my dear pastor who is standing No on moral grounds. My vote on August 4 will not be because they told me which way to vote.
Sobriety and tolerance should now embody our campaign rallies. Chest thumping and the know-it-all attitude ought to be eliminated from our rallies.
Back to the story of Bravo, his mother says every time he was upset he would sit outside the house and meditate alone. I guess our politicians and bishops could learn some wisdom; when we disagree let’s not shout at each other. Take a step backwards and contemplate the impact of your actions.