The 9th day of March 2018 will remain a day to remember amongst Kenyans following the meeting between president Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga.
The two saw the need for making amends and deliberations that according to them, would stir up unity amongst Kenyans despite of their ethnic differences. This follows a series of trials through institutional reforms that have failed to bring an end to the antagonism between those in government and in the opposition. Opposition chief Raila Odinga said that the new constitution of 2010 has failed to promote the spirit of nationhood and revolutionize Kenya into being a better state.
It is for this particular reason that he agreed to the president’s call for dialogue. According to Raila Odinga, there was need to resolve differences in bid to ensure that the country moves ahead. “The time has come for us to confront and solve our differences. These differences are becoming too entrenched.”
He said that if the state of antagonism would continue, many of the citizens, including children in primary and secondary schools would continue to play victims, of differences they were never part of or understand their origin.
Additionally, he stated that it was important for a leaders of any given country to assess the progress made towards the attainment of national goals. For the sake of attaining these goals, peace, unity, justice and unity remain key elements. “Fifty four years after independence, we are challenged to audit our progress towards the ideals for which our founding fathers fought to establish a free and independent country and for which our compatriots died.”
Mr. Odinga claimed that for a long time, Kenyan leaders have been running away from solving national challenges. It is for this reason that he attributed the continued ethnic, political and religious divide amongst Kenyans. “Our diversity appears destined to be a curse to ourselves today and to our children tomorrow.”
He urged Kenyans to be of support and partnership to their decision to unite the country stating that the reform will put an end to leaders diverting attention from their own failing and taking refuge in blame games.
If looked at in terms of promoting peace, unity and ensuring equality amongst Kenyans, it is of no doubt that the Uhuru-Raila meeting means well for the people of Kenya. It is high time Kenyan as a country shift its focus into more important issues such as addressing economic challenges, creating employment opportunities for the youths and other challenges other than talking politics every single time.
Kenya’s economy has been doing badly in the recent past with the cost of living ever rising. For instance, according to StanChart Chief Economist, Ms. Africa Razia Khan, Kenya will register a flat growth rate in its economy (4.6 percent) as compared to last years 4. 5 percent.
This is due to reduced public spending on infrastructure development and a persisting credit crunch in the private sector. This has also been contributed by the amounting pressure on treasury to cut down expenditure to manage the rising debt in light of below-target revenue collection. It is therefore mandatory that attention be directed towards addressing economic issues among other important elements in the economic and social spheres.
Having said all that, where then does this leave the other opposition Co-principals? (Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula). Apparently, these three have criticized the Uhuru-Raila meeting stating that they too are as important in the opposition coalition (NASA) as Raila Odinga is. They have raised concerns that they also need to be part of the agreement between the president and Mr. Odinga.
In my opinion, they are right and have every right to be involved in the matters of their coalition and the government. It is not right to ignore the contribution and influence of the three in national matters. It can however be debated that Hon. Raila was approached as the party leader of ODM and not the leader of NASA. If this is the case, then it automatically means that the other three principals need to meet the president as individual party leaders. This development has continued to stir up division amongst opposition legislators.
In conclusion, all these leaders should come to a long lasting solution that will see Kenya move forward as a country. A Kenya that addresses economic and social challenges will be better than one whose main agenda is focused on politics year in year out. The result is not doubtful.
This happens months after the opposition leader Raila Odinga was sworn in as the peoples president in a ghost swearing in ceremony organized by the opposition legislators. Among these legislators was one Miguna Miguna, a Kenyan lawyer with a dual citizenship who got deported to Canada. He is however expected back in the country by the end of this month after the High Court of Kenya reinstated his Kenyan passport.