Philosophy Politics

Kenya has a Win-Win Choice in the Upcoming General Election

Women pray during a rally calling for peace during Kenya's August 8 election. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

By: Agou Anyieth Kur,

CANADA (OurSouthSudan) – An appeal for a peaceful and fair democratic process.

As you go into the August general election, I want to draw your atten-tion to something that might not be too obvious in all the current hus-tle and bustle towards the general election. This concept of mine as given away by the title of this article is that contrary to the zero-sum narrative coming from your political class and the media, I implore you to view the forthcoming general election as a win-win contest and a celebration of your democratic journey and self governance: Madara-ka, as it is popularly known in your country.

“Siasa Mbaya”

In the East African region and other parts of the world, you have seen the suffering, destruction and death caused by Siasa Mbaya, to use the famous phrase by Mzee Daniel Arap Moi, the former president of Kenya. But what exactly is Siasa Mbaya?

If it will help, let me disclose right away that, I, the author of this article, I am from South Sudan. That must have rung a bell in your head even if you haven’t been keenly following the political happenings across the region and around the globe in the past few years.

At this very moment, the degree of human suffering happening in South Sudan is so despicable and un-imaginable for this century. Innocent civilians are needlessly dying and starving because of a recklessly-played politics that disregards the aspirations that many South Sudanese had for their country.

Syria and Yemen are comparable cases to South Sudan but I will stick to South Sudan for illustration since it neighbours your beautiful country and you possibly know it better than the two aforementioned coun-tries.

Having given this example, I hope I have laid bare the dire con-sequences of Siasa Mbaya without having to explicitly define it. From Siasa Mbaya, a chain of unfortunate events can transpire leading to an all-out war and needless suffering as is the case in South Sudan. When Thomas Hobbes, a 16th-century political philosopher wrote in his Leviathan about the state of war as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”, I would say that he had South Sudan in mind.

A GREAT PRESIDENTIAL FIELD

Despite the post-election doom and gloom being predicted by some pundits, how colourful the Kenya’s 2017 presidential field is should not go without getting noticed. It may appear obvious but it is worth the praise and pride of every Kenyan.

From Mr. Mohammed Abduba Dida, to Dr. Ekuru Aukot, to the front-runner duo of Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, Kenyans should be thankful of the diversity of the leadership that they can choose from and the state of their democra-cy.

It is not perfect but it can get better. In my opinion, this current Kenyan presidential campaign is less nasty than the 2016 circus show that ended up producing Donald Trump as the president of the United States.

I will pay much attention to the two front-runners for now since only both of them have considerably higher chances of winning the upcom-ing election in comparison to the rest.

To begin with H E. President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, some may question his ability but only a few may doubt his kindness, sincerity and good intentions. To the young people in East Africa and across our continent, President Kenyatta is well respected for his modern views and his desire to make Kenya a more developed nation.

Up to this point, he has done a hugely com-mendable job to that effect notwithstanding the corruption scandals that have been a little of a nightmare during his first term. Coming to the Former Prime Minister, the Rt. Honourable Raila Amolo Odinga, a lot of great things can be said about his illustrious career in Kenyan political scene.

Very few opposition leaders across Africa come close in comparison. From his progressive views of the world to his lofty ideals of what Kenya can be going all the way to his contributions (alongside others) to ensure that Kenya gets on a multi-party demo-cratic path, a progressive constition in 2010, it is not an easy task to find a living match for Raila across our continent.

Having Uhuru and Raila among those from whom Kenyans can choose their president in the August 8 election is another thing that you my Kenyan brothers and sisters should be proud of. I think no sane Kenya would opt to trade leaders with North Korea (where there is no diversity of leader-ship to choose from) or Zimbabwe (where our once revered African elder has now clung on to the presidency and would not let go to allow for diversity of leadership and fresh ideas to chart the future).

Kenya still remains a beacon of hope, peace, progress and democra-cy irrespective of the happenings of 2007/2008. Your elections may not be perfect (and elections never are in most parts of the world) but they are regular and your democracy is maturing with every election. 10-15 years from now, your democracy might be the closest thing to perfection in the whole of Africa.

That is, of course, if you build on the constitutional progress of the past few years. Any bystander, like I am, would seriously advise you not to squander that due to some short-sighted and hollow tribal vanity. You would not want your coun-try to go the South Sudanese way.

NEVER AGAIN?

As the 2007 Election violence had taught you, I have heard voices ranging from ordinary Kenyans to leaders saying that “never again should Kenyans shed blood because of an election.” But do you really mean those words?

Le me end with this recollection from 2008. When the National accord was signed, I was watching your parliament’s special sitting when it approved the National Accord. Sometime around noon after the Ken-yan army band had played the national anthem, they marched to the tune of the gospel song: “Baraka za Mungu kweli ni-za ajabu” , which translates to “the blessings of the Lord are truly miraculous.” That moment reflected your ideals and aspiration as a Godly nation of “Amani and Umoja” and it is what you should all aspire for ahead of the upcoming election. Don’t mess your country up.

Agou Anyieth Kur
Political and Communication Strategist living in Canada.
agoukur@gmail.com.

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