Danger Ahead for Kenya: The People To Watch
It is now exactly two months since Kenyans enthusiastically came out in their masses to cast ballots in favour of their preferred political leaders. What should have been a straight forward electoral process has turned out to be our worst nightmare. The general elections have polarised the country ethnically.
After wasting more than 1500 lives and displacing nearly half a million others, the general elections have left many a Kenyan with deep regret as to why they even bothered to vote in the first place and many others are frustrated to the point of vowing never ever to vote again.
Nairobi has now become a global VIP destination with visitors including nobel price winners, presidents, diplomats, peace-makers, etc. The Kenya crisis has also been in the headlines since December. This just goes to say how high the stakes are. Interestingly, few of these high-profile visitors have made it to State House – Mwai Kibaki’s preferred work station. Most have met Kibaki at the official Harambee House offices.
On the other hand, the current political impasse shows just how powerful the so-called old order forces are in this country that claims to have been independent for nearly half a century and that which, as we have always been reminded, is a sovereign state. Threats of visa ban and asset freeze do not seem to be producing any results towards a resolution of the elections impasse.
Whereas the Orange Democratic Movement led by Raila Odinga have made significant concessions in the crisis arising out of the disputed elections, the Party of National Unity led by Mwai KIbaki have made none at all - in terms of acknowledging the concerns of their rivals or even ceding executive powers. Instead, PNU has been changing positions each time they are requested to show commitment on agreed issues and in the process playing deadly political gambling with the very livelihoods of the people of Kenya – all in the name of retaining political power.
Ever since the crisis started, the ODM have played their political cards much better than the PNU. To begin with, PNU forget that this crisis is all about politics and NOT about what the constitutional law says. In any case, everyone is in agreement, it is this very constitution that has led us to this hole we find ourselves in. Secondly, it is clear to all that PNU’s line-up on the mediation table is not what one would call negotiators but ‘defenders’ – no wonder they have failed to reach a compromise! Thirdly, it is PNU that is in control of state instruments and it is them who will ultimately determine whether the crisis will degenerate into anarchy or peace. Perhaps it is this state power that has made PNU become too reckless in its pronouncements and so amateurish in its dealings with people who matter in global affairs.
Whether rightly or wrongly, ODM have managed to depict themselves as the victims and it appears the civil society, the press, the international community and even the majority of the Kenyan population agree that power-sharing as opposed to an MOU-type of arrangement. As a matter of fact, Kofi Annan was taken aback by PNU hardliners who accused him of siding with killers (ODM) something which clearly shocked him and that which prompted him to suspend the Serena talks and opt to engage directly with the principals.
The big question is: After hastily taking oath of office on 30th December, is Mwai Kibaki truly in charge of this country or are there some unseen forces that are actually ruling this country by proxy? Who is holding our leaders hostage? Looking at the history of both ODM and PNU leaders, and the backers they had during their intensive campaign periods; it is easy to tell who between the two is lying in bed with the OLD ORDER and who has been out there advocating for CHANGE. It is also easy to tell who is sweeping historical injustices under the carpet.
Although the country has returned to an uneasy calm in recent weeks, many observers opine that this has only given private militias the opportunity to re-arm because PNU and ODM are unlikely to reach an agreement and therefore matters will have to be sorted out physically.
Sources now say, as a last resort, Kenya’s military is on high alert awaiting orders of deployment to contain civil strife that is sure to follow the failure of Annan’s mediation mission. A strong pointer to this was the unusual attendance of the Chief of General Staff, General Kianga, at yesterday’s meeting between Kibaki together with his PNU team and Kofi Annan with his eminent persons team. In other words, Gen. Kianga was part of the PNU team that met with Kofi Annan who is on a AU sanctioned mission to Kenya.
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