By Naisula Lesuuda
Kenyans have spoken clearly through the ballot. With the election now done and with the recorded low voter turnout and boycott from some quarters of the country, the message is clear that Kenya has never more divided.
Ugly scenes that have been witnessed before, during and after the repeat presidential election, including honourable members fighting in the glare of cameras over trivial issues, are only a confirmation of one thing; this country is torn apart.
But it is not rocket science that a nation can only succeed when its citizens are united towards building it, not when pulling in different directions, hence the parlance ‘united we stand and divided we fall’. All is not lost, however, and the unity can still be achieved. But the time to forge that oneness more than ever before is now.
President Uhuru Kenyatta understands this only too well and we must commend him for taking the first step to reach out to his chief rival, National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga. After casting his ballot on Thursday, President Kenyatta made it clear that if he wins, and it is now very clear that he will, he intends to heal and bring the country together for a common goal; development.
But the President cannot do this alone. That is why he said he intends to reach out to Raila. Even the NASA leader knows this country needs him and many other political players to forge a unity of purpose. And there is no better time for him to show his love for this great nation than now. Tribal politics has torn this country apart, even to the extent that when the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announces that it will open polls on Saturday in four counties where elections did not take place, it is misconstrued as profiling one community.
This is not the time for chest thumping. It is very unfortunate that Raila, who has been respected as a statesman for a long time, could stand before a crowd and say he was leading in the formation of a resistance movement, or better put, a rebel movement. We all know what such movements have led to in countries such as Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Burundi, among many others in Africa. For decades now, some of those countries are still struggling to recover from the atrocities that have been caused by such movements. Is this what Raila and the opposition want for this country?
Politics is just one aspect of a country’s development. Beyond politics and once political campaigns and elections are done, the common mwananchi still needs to put food on their table, parents still have to take their children to school and businesses and other sectors of the economy still have to run. But all these cannot happen if we politick endlessly and hold polls in a circus. It has to end somewhere so life can continue.
The IEBC must therefore act with speed, conclude the election and declare the results as soon as possible. And once sworn in for a second term, President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto should reach out to the opposition just as the President has promised and build this country together as one people.
Should the Opposition refuse to play ball and go ahead to incite civil obedience as they have threatened, then the law must be allowed to take its course. Anyone who tries to break the law in the name of a resistance movement must be dealt with firmly and within the confines of the Constitution and the law. Never at any time should we allow our beloved country to take the route of DRC or South Sudan. Lawlessness has no place in Kenya.
And even as the IEBC opens polls in Homa Bay, Migori, Kisumu and Siaya counties and other polling stations where the election did not take place on Saturday, we cannot tire to call for sobriety and peace. It does not cost anything to stay away from the polling station if one does not want to vote. Those who want to exercise their right to vote must be allowed to do so without interference.
And the best thing our leaders, including governors and parliamentarians, can do is to discourage lawlessness instead of inciting civil strife as some of them have been doing.
Naisula Lesuuda is the MP for Samburu West