This is the only subject I'll ever write twice on.
About two weeks ago, I humbly proposed that our leaders, President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, call Kenyans to Uhuru Park and lead the nation in a national day of forgiveness. I did so because it's evident that there comes a time when justice just isn't the answer.
Before you attack me for being naive, let me say that I understand the need for the rule of law and justice to be the guiding light in all our national endeavours and interactions. But I also think that at this point we've all sank so deep in a hole that justice can't pull us out of. In the interest of fostering the spirit of forgiveness, I won't drop any names of the people our nation feels have wronged us. I will, however, draw a map of what a bright future would look like if we started off at the point of brotherly embrace.
Kenyans have stored pain in their hearts. Most of our fellow countrymen were witnesses to the murderous rampage that washed away any of our claim to innocence...after the elections. Children saw their parents killed, brothers saw their fathers kill, mothers cried as their sons failed to return home, and daughters wailed when their husbands' bodies were found in a trench somewhere. The psychological impact of what Kenyans dealt with will never go away just because a couple of boys are tried and locked up or killed. The only way to deal with a matter like this is to call friends and foes together and watch as they embrace in a spirit of forgiveness.
The matters that need to be forgiven are murders, assassinations, corruption, detention without trial, tribalism, and all the wrongs that have been committed against Kenyans by our leaders of the past. But while our leaders own up to their wrongs, we as Kenyans must also own up to the fact that we've failed to be our brother's keeper. Where are the stories of the Luo heroes who saved a Kikuyu friend when Kisumu erupted? Where are the Kikuyu heroes who hid a Luo woman when Limuru went up in plumes? And where are the Kalenjin heroes who pleaded with their fellow warriors not to burn a house of God where helpless people sought shelter? Do we really think mere justice can wash away the pain Kenyans feel?
The answer is no.
Forgiveness is a better way. It will free all of us and give us a chance to start afresh!
Once forgiveness is born in our hearts, let the three leaders actively seek a way to settle the IDPs. It's disgraceful that those poor Kenyans are still in the camps. Why does it seem to me like the nation has decided to move on and forget the plight of those people? How can some of our leaders start campaigning earnestly for elections that are four years away when our brothers and sisters sleep in the cold? It's wrong!
A New Constitution
Of course the next pressing matter is the constitution. I'm not an expert in constitution-making, so I won't pretend to know how long it will take to comprehensively deal with this matter. I do know, however, that the longer we wait, the more we lose time. It's in the best interest of the nation that this exercise be started very soon and be done fairly, in the spirit of forgiveness.
Ending the ECK
Finally that matter of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. It's a body that has served Kenya well before, but failed spectacularly last year. In a nation with increasingly polarized politics, it would be supremely unwise to go into another election with this body in place. Let it be disbanded immediately, since it lacks credibility.
That's the map.
If these matters are not handled well before the next elections, I fear that one day those of us left alive will have to meet President Paul Kagame in Kigali to ask him how he put Rwanda back together after unprecedented bloodletting, so we can do the same in Kenya.
Is anybody listening?
It starts with forgiveness.