That lunch was good. When Ida's food is on the table, you always wanna be there.
But it wasn't the lunch that was important. It was the fact that it took place deep in Luo Nyanza. The easy and cordial atmosphere within which it took place made it even more significant. But again, all those will mean nothing if that critical gesture by Raila is not reciprocated by Kibaki and the community he comes from.
Admittedly, it will largely be upon Raila to woo the Kikuyu community, make that community comfortable with his style of leadership and temperament. But it will also be up to the Kikuyu to watch Raila's steps and evaluate soberly whether he is someone they can vote for and eventually support his presidency. The past, where he was dismissed merely because he didn't come from the House of Mumbi, should firmly be behind us. That is why I think something important happened in Bondo. I think a new chapter, one that must be guarded by our brothers from the Lake and those from the Hill, was opened.
So what's the way forward?
Just last week I lamented the fact that Raila seemed to be the only one concerned about the Mau. It seemed like a set up. To hear Kibaki come out resolutely about the Mau was truly refreshing. And though Michuki's colonial style approach to issues sometimes scares the hell out of me, I agree with him that there can be no backing down on this critical matter. Let the government find a humane but firm way to move those who occupy that zone. Ruto and company must be told in no uncertain terms that we will not tie a noose around our necks for political expediency.
This is where Raila and Kibaki are still on the wrong side of an issue. By a wide margin, the Kenyans who want perpetrators and enablers of the post-poll violence tried at the Hague have spoken. What Kenyans are saying is that we have no faith in the Gicheru-led Judiciary. And not only that. We also have no faith in our other institutions as presently constituted. Does that mean we will forever be skeptical of these institutions? By no means. It means when they are streamlined and can act with credibility, we will have faith in them again. So let the camaraderie that started in Bondo, and must spread through the nation, not blind us. We must punish those among us who committed acts that led to massive deaths. That's why the Hague is the choice of most Kenyans to accomplish this goal.
I would have dismissed this thing as a waste of time, but something tells me it may end up doing some good if given a chance. With the humility of a man who understands the fragile nature of his past, Ambassador Kiplagat has asked Kenyans to support his team. I will do so for now. In the long run it may turn out that this TJRC thing is a waste of everybody's time. When that time comes, the support Kenyans may give it will slowly erode. What I find curious is this habit of always dismissing people, calling them names when they are appointed. Can Muite show us a Kenyan without blemish so we can appoint them? Can Koigi show us such a woman? We've all done things that we wish we never did in the past. If Ambassador Kiplagat learned from his mistake and past associations and wants to use his experience to heal this nation...give the man a chance.
The President finally came out and declared that Migingo belongs to Kenya. He couldn't have picked a better venue to make this dramatic statement. With those few words, what President Kibaki did was tell the folks from his Prime Minister's backyard that he listens to their concerns. Since this matter has not been resolved with Uganda yet, it helps to know that the commander-in-chief will do whatever it takes to protect the sovereignty of Kenya.
Does this Mean We've Turned a Corner?
Folks, how we handle ourselves from now on will largely determine whether a corner has been turned or not. Relations are nurtured, they don't just happen. So let's give the TJRC a chance, let the Hague punish the evildoers, let the President and Prime Minister take their friendship from Bondo to every corner of this nation, and let's worry about the Kenya we turn over to our kids by taking care of the Mau Forest situation. Should we do this...and fix that colonial constitution that perpetually fails to protect our collective interests...I'll say we've turned a corner.
And it will be said Kenya was reborn in Bondo.