Reason is the only way out for Kenya’s woes

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023 01:25 | By
Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga and Martha Karua at a past political rally. PHOTO/Courtesy

Monday’s day-long standoff between the government and opposition leader Raila Odinga was an unnecessary experiment, which could easily have resulted into untrammelled disaster.

Raila had long promised his supporters to assemble in Nairobi on Monday, March 20, when he and them would have a date with destiny as they would march to State House on that day. 

On the other hand, the State, through its many tiers, starting with the presidency downwards, declared that no such meeting would take place.

When the material day came, both sides came out with their own portion of victory.

As promised, the government ensured Raila and his fanatics did not hold any meeting within Nairobi’s city centre or march to State House as they had vowed.

On his side, a defiant Raila, in spite of being blocked from achieving his initial wishes, proved his point by making a tour of some parts of the capital city where he commands unwavering support and received a rapturous reception. 

However, what happened on Monday should not have taken place should the antagonists in the duel taken their responsibilities seriously. 

In fact, it was by a sheer stroke of luck that the day ended without many harrowing incidents in spite of the many cases of provocation from both Azimio supporters and the security agencies.

Any slight misstep would have led to very dire ramifications. The good thing to come out of that stalemate is that unlike in previous political protests, not many lives were lost—only one student at Maseno University was reported to have died after he was allegedly shot by police. Though no family should have lost any of their loved ones. The unhelpful side of the Monday tiff is that Raila vowed to now have similar protests every Monday and Thursday. 

The already strained economy is in for further shocks. Quite a number of the events and utterances leading to March 20 from both sides were unfortunate indeed and should not have been made at all if the antagonists love their country and respect fellow citizens as they claim. 

Marketing scorn, ridicule, falsehoods, propaganda, unrealistic demands, skirting around issues of public concern, chest-thumping, hubris, dishonesty, ethnic-driven insolence and lack of respect for one another have drained the import of what each one purports to stand. The late revered politician Kenneth Matiba wrote a book titled Return to reason.

Maybe it is time for our leadership both in government and Opposition just to do that. As well as the rest of Kenyans.

Our country cannot survive on quick sand. Our leaders are spewing so much venom. Kenyans cannot live on such vermin forever. It is time to change.

The drought and famine that are ravaging most parts of Kenya coupled with the sagging economy, rampant insecurity, the high cost of living, poverty and unemployment should give us more reason to think about the country’s future and come up with workable solutions.

Weekend posturing and exchanging epithets in places of worship and public rallies will not offer solutions to the challenges afflicting the country today.

Yes, the time to return to reason is now. No more theatrics and supremacy ego trips. Kenya is not in a good stead. It needs to be stabilised. Not through arrogance and bragging. But through honest and sound policies.

— The author is the Revise Editor at the People Daily newspaper

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