Kenyatta apologized, but will he patch the hurt?
In the State of the Nation Address, the fifth of his kind, President Uhuru Kenyatta did go into the expected territories, however, he went in one direction I didn’t anticipate. He asked for forgiveness. But as a leader, I hope he acts, because he knows how he came to power for the second term in 2017. We know how he was the loudest voice of discontent, the one who has blatantly disregarded the rule of law, the one that has used the army and the police to hurt civilians. Therefore, the ones that was in-charge of doing these ills should pay for the hurt they caused. Not just, apologize and move-on. Just as if Rail Odinga got his handshake and his role in government, so now he does not care how the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) rigged the game. Here is the part of the speech I felt had some values, worth mentioning.
“We also learned, again, a hard truth. Neither peace nor unity are a given; we have to work for them. I say so because last year taught us that if we don’t put an end to unrestrained political competition, it will put an end to Kenya. You saw what happened. In the heat of the campaign, words of anger, malice, and hatred were spoken. Politics was no longer a debate between opponents on issues; it was a clash of irreconcilable enemies. You saw the consequences: lives lost, property destroyed, our unity sapped. I want to be clear here: never again should Kenyan life be lost for politics’ sake; never again should Kenyans’ property be destroyed on account of politics. But that will not just happen on its own. All of us, and in particular we leaders here, will have to admit that last year, we failed in our duty to preserve the unity of this country. And we must make amends. First, I pray that all of us will spend the days and weeks after this address repairing the bonds that frayed last year. Let us apologize for our words, and for the anger and malice that Kenyans heard. From Mandera to Maseno, from Mbita to Mvita, from Lodwar to Lunga Lunga, let us shake hands and embrace our neighbours, and let us celebrate the diversity that is God’s gift to us. Let every leader in the country reach out to our sons and daughters, and remind them that they have it in them to forge a Kenya that speaks gently, that criticizes constructively, and that embraces and respects dissent and competition as healthy and civilized ways of collaboration. And since leadership is best done not by exhortation but by example, let me do as I have asked you to do. If there was anything I said last year that hurt or wounded you, if I damaged the unity of this country in any way, I ask you to forgive me, and to join me in repairing that harm” (Uhuru Kenyatta – State of the Nation Address in Parliament, 02.05.2018).
It is good to hear this from the President, I just hope it is sincere, but if it is, then there is need for action. Not just handshaking Odinga, give him some coins and thinks the families, the tragic deaths that occurred on your watch goes away. All the Extra-Judicial Killings, the big shots who sudden killed days ahead of the elections. Those will be remembered, they will not be forgotten, even if you ask forgiveness. They are still bloodstains on the hands of the President, who hasn’t really done anything to investigate or more like a cover-up to not look into those who has lost their lives. So that he could rule a second term in office.
I wish it was differently, but it wasn’t only innocent civilians that passed away because of protest, police-brutality and electioneering. There was people who mattered and was high upon the food-chain, still the deaths of these lingers on. With many unanswered questions, into the levels, of who paid who and who ordered to send for who? As long as those questions are open, you can wonder if the highest command want it die down and go silent. So that they wont be questioned for their role in their demise.
It is hard to forgive, when your not even trying to cover-up or trying to patch the hurt. You don’t even try to forge or change. Seems like all talk and no play. Since, everything you have done is to pay-off your worst enemy. However, not look into the systemic indifference nor the activity that lead to the demise of the people during the elections. That is because that will hurt your own allies and the dark shadow of your presidency.
Therefore, I don’t expect President Kenyatta to really look into the Police Service, the Military or the Government institutions involved, even investigate into the Cambridge Analytica, the tenders of electoral frauds and the rigging of himself. Since, that will delegitimize his role as the President. It will humiliate him and his allies. He can talk about apologizing, but will state offer more condolences to the ones who lost their loved ones during the skirmishes of the police in and after the Presidential elections? Will he offer them a trust-fund, something to secure the families of the ones who lost their lives? Will the kids get support for their education and a safety net for the ones who were betrayed by the state in the run-up the fresh presidential elections?
Because, I hate to say it, its easy to apologize, but takes courage to investigate himself with a independent body and also use the coins you self have gotten to help the lives of the ones you hurt. That would have been mature, that would have been righteous. However, I doubt it would happen. Since this government is all about PR and not about delivering service to the community. Peace.