THIAGARAJAN RAMAMURTHY (TRM)
For many years to come, I will always cherish the fact that I lived to see Kenya’s 2013 General Elections.
Like any other Kenyan, I had also looked forward to this day anxiously, particularly due to the heightened degree of mature political campaigns that we were treated to in the days preceding this watershed polls.
For this reason, on March 4, I was one of the Kenyans patiently queuing to exercise my democratic right at Westlands primary school.
On this day, all my 4,500-plus colleagues at Nakumatt had also taken a well-deserved day off to join our compatriots in seeking a better leadership mandate.
From where I sit, there is no denying that independent Kenya has come of age as demonstrated by the people during the recently concluded elections.
United by our common aspirations as a nation, it was amazing to see the enthusiasm with which people came out in large numbers to participate in the democratic process.
Clearly shaming the doomsayers, we also patiently; albeit tensely waited for more than five days for the final tally of the announcement of the winner in the presidential race.
All leaders, be it religious, political, social and business uniformly maintained a neutral position to afford the people of Kenya a chance to exercise their rights at their own will, at their own pace and with their individual choice with their own rationale and priority.
That is the essence of democracy.
All leaders who participated in the election this time maintained their dignity, spoke sense, behaved well and positioned themselves with self-respect for people to make comparison.
The presidential debates were the height of transparency which clearly focussed on the contestants competence, skills, vision and commitment to bring in credibility to the leadership while enhancing the brand value and positioning of Kenya in the world map.
Their personal integrity, lifestyle and their political mission were all put on the table for scrutiny. All leaders came out openly and responded well and allowing the electorate to make an informed choice.
The Kenyan voter, in my view has proved sceptics wrong and sent pundits scampering. Here is a responsible, focused, intelligent and wise voter. They do analyse, debate and set priorities for their selection.
Most of them put the country first considering the safety, security, economic stability and peace in total. Kenyans love peace. They are relatively sober. They believe in moving on with life despite challenges.
They do not revolt. They do not live in dreams. They are relatively practical. They all behave like nationalists and visionaries. Every Kenyan speaks humbly and respects every other person. They are hard working and have the aptitude to improve their skills to move up.
In all, the people, the democracy, the administration and the direction are all favourable for a country like Kenya positioning itself strongly in the emerging African continent as the leading nation.
I believe most of the people from any part of the world would fairly agree with me that Kenya stands out, in Africa, as a country that respects democracy, pluralism, unity in diversity and demonstrating utmost patience in every walk of their lives.
This is a boon to Africa. Kenyans have spoken loudly of their culture to the whole world that preach and practice democracy.
It is time for everyone across the world to come out openly to respond with reciprocation through every possible support to Kenya.
Leaders come and go. Years pass; but the country and the people carry on. Let us shake hands and hug each other and demonstrate our, nationhood, goodwill and friendship and bring in harmony the defining hallmark of democracy.
The media in Kenya did a commendable job throughout the election process. They remained neutral, provided fair and uniform opportunities to all parties, came out with very relevant issues and focussed on a few which mattered to people in the long run.
The presenters were tireless, analysing details and communicating round the clock but with one voice on peace, unity and harmony. It was heart-warming and gratifying to witness such service culture in Africa.
Save for the technological glitches, the IEBC, is an institution with committed professionals who handled the entire election process with patience, dignity, focus and determination to show the world that it can happen in Kenya.
The president-elect Hon Uhuru Kenyatta made a landmark speech during acceptance of the result. I salute his humility, wisdom and vision to lead the country to the next level.
Foreign investors seeking to enjoy the benefits of an emerging market need to look no further than Kenya as the best investing destination, which has human skills, financial discipline, thanks to the 10-year leadership of the President Mwai Kibaki and his able team. In the last five years, both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have overseen the country’s steady growth to hitherto unimagined heights
As a proud Kenyan, I commit to the cause of Kenya in every possible way to build capacity, bring in competency and contribute to the country’s economic growth. I agree with Finance Minister Robinson Githae that attaining a 10% growth rate as envisioned in Vision 2030
Development policy now appears possible.
The world is becoming smaller and smaller through communication and accessibility. Every country has to scale up to compete in the global market to sustain and grow. Reducing dependency and becoming self-reliant on food, health and basic living conditions are paramount in a democracy. That brings in dignity to the country’s leadership and the people.
The new governments work is already cut out and it must strive to focus on these critical factors in their agenda and implement with minimum possible time lines.
Truly, Kenya is changing for the better.
(TRM is the Regional Operations and Strategy Director at Nakumatt Holdings. firstname.lastname@example.org)