Politics should not slow down growth
Kenyan politicians raised stakes yesterday when, on the one hand, Azimio’s Raila Odinga said he does not recognise President William Ruto as Head of State and on the other, the latter stated that he has a plan on how to tame his critic.
It is about five months now since Kenyans voted and it would have been hoped that by now, the dust from that election should have settled to pave way for the new administration to get on with the job of running the country’s affairs. In the same vein, the parties in the minority are expected to have coalesced into a formidable opposition to keep the government in check until the next election cycle.
However, complex issues about the conduct of the election abound. Azimio leaders still believe they were denied victory in a flawed process. The ruling Kenya Kwanza leaders also believe there was a deliberate attempt to force the electoral commission into moderating the results of the presidential election.
A tribunal set up to investigate the conduct of some of the commissioners is still in its infancy, and already, many allegations are coming up about how some State players attempted to subvert the will of the people. Allegations levelled by both sides of the political divide raise weighty matters that ought to be handled with sensitivity for the sake of the unity of the country and, ultimately, for the truth.
However, these issues ought not to be allowed to compromise economic recovery. Indeed, Kenyans are hurting from high food and commodity prices. Measures to address some of these challenges have shown early signs of bearing fruit. As such, it is critical that political competition is not allowed to slow down the growth pace or worse, reverse it.
Political competition is legitimate before, during and after elections. That goes without saying. However, the decisions made by leaders across the divide ought to be informed by the assumption that they are working for the people. As such, they should at all times put the interests of citizens at the centre of all political discourse, including when they raise the ante as happened yesterday.
At some point, leaders must allow for closure to give the country time to heal from the divisions caused by the elections. Even where this takes time, it must not be used to slow down economic growth and recovery.