Come Red or Green, Kenya remains one

Phew! The drama is over. The curtains have been drawn and the dice cast.

It has been two months of unrelenting campaigns, consultative fora, deals and counter deals. Our Sunday service sermons too have changed and have been all about this Katiba thing.

Thank God the Katiba theatrics are coming to a close and our prime time news can now go back to the usual nation building events such as the restoration of the Mau forest and the construction of our first super highway; Thika road.

Talking to friends and colleagues we are all tired of this Katiba debate. We have grown weary of hearing the same arguments abortion, Kadhis’ courts, counties, land disputes and the like every day. It is time to go back to our normal lives.

Nevertheless as we draw the curtains on the referendum campaigns today I have some reflections for my motherland. The referendum campaigns are gone and the results will be known by the weekend, but their impact cannot be swept under the carpet.

As the Reds and the Greens crisscrossed this country old wounds were re-opened while new bruises were implicated. The booing of Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, the ugly spat between President Mwai Kibaki and his predecessor Daniel arap Moi, the use of state funds at the Yes campaigns and others ought to be forgotten.

They say there are no permanent enemies in politics but it seems political wounds never heal completely; the feuds keep coming back. Similarly, I thought sibling rivalry ends with age but in their world grudges seem to grow with time. I hope they can settle that at the ballot box and avoid too much public drama.

I cannot re-emphasise my patriotic call; whether Yes or No wins come Wednesday, we remain Kenyans. The Americans (the government that supported the draft and the right wings who opposed it) and other members of the ‘international community’ have no stake in it and their promised dollars may never come.

Fellow Kenyans let’s leave the emotions, accusations, counter-accusations, divisive politics, distortions at the campaign platform.

Politics, they say, is a dirty game and you can be sure they will soon be fighting for the glory. I wish our politicians would share the glory but that maybe a pipe dream which I pray for anyway.

Despite the nightmares we are carrying from the campaigns the message of unity has never been so clear. Different Church leaders both in the mainstream and the protestant churches who in the past had cold wars are now in the same bandwagon. It was delighting to see all of them dressed in their religious regalia at the Holy Family Basilica in joint prayers last Friday. Their No stand (the Yes stand of a few retired clergy not withstanding) has been consistent. I would love to see this unity as we forge forward. Let’s keep the flock united in diversity.

Before the campaigns began we were treated to the supremacy battle between the President and the Premier. The campaigns have brought these former foes turned ‘partners’ together. My prayer for them is that this will continue to the end of their terms.

Should it pass, work begins to make legislations to support it and other dozens of appointments. I’m not a prophet of doom but if they are not careful that is the next battlefield. We will need a new Attorney General, a Chief Justice, Police Inspector General and his two deputies, and other appointments to key Constitutional commissions. How we will navigate that crucial stage is anyone’s guess. I hope the two principals handle this with love and unity of purpose.

Should the public defy opinion polls, then the process continues. I don’t want to see that to mean we have hit a dead end, it is just a slow down. We go back to the negotiating table and seek more consensus. The incremental gains over the last two decades are still with us let’s build on them. Let’s re-look at the merit of the contentious issues.

A wise leader will not just brush off his former critics but rather bring them on the table and unite the country. I am reminded of President Kibaki’s many promises that the issue of abortion will be dealt with, he has promised those communities who feel marginalised by the county boundaries that they too will get their counties.

It was a long road to reach where Kenya is right now, but whether the constitution passes or flops, work has just begun!

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