Kaikai’s Kicker: Only clean, credible elections can take Kenyans to ‘The Promised Land’

On my kicker this week, I reluctantly make reference to the increasingly tired analogy of Kenyans as the chosen people freed from bondage in Egypt and set on a long journey to Canaan the promised land. 

In his state of the nation address last week, President Uhuru  Kenyatta used the Canaan analogy that also happens to have been the rallying election slogan of ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2017.

I am reluctant to dwell on the analogy because I have always found it presumptuous – I mean, what if we Kenyans are not even Canaan-bound Israelis but home-based Egyptians whose affairs are run from the imposing palace of the ruling pharaohs?

Anyway, let me not be the spoiler of the Canaan party, and I promise to play along with the promised land analogy for the rest of this kicker.

Now, biblical accounts tell us that it took a whole 40 years for the chosen people to reach Canaan the promised land.

All the while, they wandered in the wilderness largely because of defying the simple law of geometry that teaches all of us that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. 

And so a theoretical point may be made that the chosen people of Israel may well have taken a time much shorter than 40 years had they travelled in a straight line between Egypt and Canaan.

And so tonight, I make a case for a straight line in Kenya’s pronounced journey to Canaan; a journey that seems to be in the joint hands of president Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. 

In the case for a straight line to Canaan, the president and the former prime minister must be straight with Kenyans on the events that preceded and necessitated the handshake between the two of them on the March 9, 2018. 

That handshake was not triggered by the absence of an office for the judiciary ombudsman or lack of a Kenya police council. 

The handshake did not come about because Kenyans were shedding blood for an expanded executive that includes a prime minister and two deputies. 

And the case for a straight line to the promised line must also include an admission that Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga were not shaking hands because Kenyans thought that a bloated parliament of 416 is not bloated enough! 

A straight line to the promised land must be drawn with raw facts, the plain, bitter truth.

And here is the raw truth in my view; March 9, 2018 was an exact repeat of February 28, 2008.  

The two dates that were ten years apart could well be regarded as Kenya’s ceasefire dates.

On  February 28,008, under pressure from the international community, President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga shook hands on the steps of Harambee House, an act that ended ethnic violence that had rocked the country in the wake of the disputed 2007 Presidential Election.

In March 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga shook hands on the steps of Harambee House as a mark of reconciliation at a time of deep divisions, tensions and even violence over, you guessed right, contested election results. 

Which is why it has been agonizing to watch president Kenyatta and ODM leader Odinga as they struggle to make no reference to the real reasons that got them to the steps of Harambee House in the first place.

The handshake principals must have the courage to bark up the right tree –  and come to the realization that clean, credible elections are the only right path to Kenya’s promised land.

Both Kenyatta and Odinga have been top level players in every presidential election since 2002 – either as candidates or kingmakers.

Both of them know the truth that BBI doesn’t quite confront; the question of credibility of the elections. 

They know Kenyans can handle results of a credible election like adults; better than Americans are handling theirs actually – because both of them were in the opposite ends of the only above board election Kenyans have ever conducted – the 2002 election that saw Mwai Kibaki of the National Rainbow coalition defeating KANU’s Uhuru Kenyatta and ending more than 40 years of KANU rule.

I don’t know about you, but I feel the BBI report treats the question of election more as one of the plagues on pharaoh’s palace than it should as a path to Kenya’s promised land. 

Now that there is a break on BBI activities, some reflection on this journey to Canaan should allow a more honest conversation about how this country can peacefully and in credible ways choose its leaders. 

Without addressing conduct of elections, we may, god forbid  have to repeat the Harambee house handshake rituals every 10 years. 

That is my kicker