, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 7 – As early as 4am, adults and school children braved the chilly morning to go and watch the tight political race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at the US Embassy residence in Nairobi.
But even as they thronged the residence in their hundreds to celebrate Obama’s, they also enumerated key lessons that they believe Kenya can adopt to change its political landscape which is usually characterised by deep ethnic and political divisions sometimes tearing the country apart through violence.
“Even as I congratulate President Obama for his re-election, it is possible to have peaceful elections irrespective of our diversity. There can be an extremely fair and peaceful elections,” Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson Sarah Serem asserted.
She also advised aspiring leaders to put aside selfish interests that have usually rammed the country into sorry situations that hurt Kenyans, their economy and their peace.
“Leadership is a service calling. Politics is not about oneself, it is about what the people want. It is not a competition that should amount to life. It is about polices and strategies in a mature level of presentation,” she advised.
Renowned cleric Timothy Njoya urged Kenyans to also embrace democracy and choose leaders based on what they can deliver.
“This is a demonstration that democracy can work for anybody, even a minority. In Kenya we have to learn that minorities matter. It is a comment how backward we have become that it is only the majority tribes that have leading figures… it is very primitive,” he said.
Gospel artist David Muthengi said the US poll was an important lesson for the country as it prepares for next year’s general election.
“There was peace regardless of how tight the election was. In Kenya the political aspect is very different. The process is very clear, it is well outlined, results come very fast and transparently,” he acknowledged.
He also admired American politics which he said was policy based and addressed real issues unlike Kenyan politics which is about individuals. “Here in Kenya we talk about who is forming a coalition with who, it is sad for Kenya.”
Their sentiments of peaceful elections were also echoed by students from secondary schools who praised Americans for maintaining peace despite the competitive election.
The students are looking at the next general elections with a lot of hope that Kenya will never again choose the route of violence and that they will also mature to the level of democracy of peaceful, free and fair elections.