After four days of waiting and suspense the official results have put Uhuru Kenyatta as the fourth president of Kenya, with a 50.07 per cent win. However, Kenyans should rather be celebrating the peace that has reigned throughout this interlude of wait and worries than the victory of Uhuru or the defeat of Raila Odinga.
Odinga would rather have loved to win after two previous attempts and the controversial rigging that denied his overt victory in 2007. In any case, pundits of political sciences would point out that in a liberal democracy it not always winning that matters most, but the challenge and courage to participate and accept the results. As a true politician and patriot who believes and works relentless for his people, it is pointless for Odinga to challenge the results now. His frustrations are but obvious, especially as his rival scraped the presidential election by a meagre margin above the absolutely majority, 50 per cent benchmark, dashing away the chance for a second round poll.
Nevertheless, the former Prime Minister should be proud to say he had worked extremely hard to guarantee the serene atmosphere which the elections finally took place. As a happy loser, Odinga should not lose his mind but rather should show maturity and fair play in the game of politics by being the first to offer a congratulatory message to Uhuru and pledge to support him. Odinga should also be proud to have re-written history as the first Kenyan to have traded or given up twice his opportunity to be president in exchange for unity and peace for Kenya and Kenyans.
While Odinga has said he would prepare a suit and challenge the results in the Supreme Court, he equally urged his militants to stay calm, which could be interpreted as an indication that he is open or up for dialogue. Promptly, Uhuru, 52, now the youngest president ever in Kenya has publicly promised to work with Odinga, who he described as a senior brother for the interest of Kenya. As a former deputy to Odinga, the president-elect would still need his advice. Therefore, the cordial bond which both men enjoyed and exhibited working together should not be disbanded by the simple swop of office or title, but should rather be strengthened to set a model for all Kenyans and Africa. During the two televised presidential debates, neither Uhuru nor Odinga threw a tirade at each other. The two forerunners maintained mutual respect for each other’s ambitions, and in most cases it was Odinga who often come to rescue his deputy, Uhuru as any professional boss would have done.
Uhuru born to rule Kenya
The victory of Uhuru should not be confused with his wealth or overshadowed with his case with the International Criminal Court, ICC. Instead most Kenyans who respected his father Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya knew that at his birth his father dedicated him to Kenyans. Apart from that his father, then his close aides groomed Uhuru for the state’s top job; he equally worked hard for it. After failing to win the 2002 elections against Mwai Kibaki, and then appointed as finance minister, before becoming the deputy prime minister in 2007, the people of Kenya have finally accorded him the opportunity to fulfill his dream as the one born to serve them. The massive turnout, 86 per cent, of the elections and the tiny margin by which Uhuru obtained his victory, are all glaring evident that Kenyans are eager for change and believed Uhuru has the answers to most of their problems.
With the elections over and Uhuru declared the new president the recurrent catchphrase in the minds and mouths of his critics is the ICC indictment for alleged involvement in the 2007 post-election violence. Whatever happened during that disheartening period and who was responsible, the past must now be left in history books and peace embraced to prepare Kenya for global challenges.
It is also a shame that the mainstream media cannot say anything about Uhuru without referring to the ICC case, which in disguise has instead propelled his popularity. It shall be a mistake if ICC that stands for justice is blind about safeguarding further mayhem when the very people the court is trying to represent in defence of human rights have vehemently opted for peace, unity and have elected their leader. Uhuru who has claimed innocent or not guilty for all seven crimes on humanity labelled on him, has said he would help the court in its proceedings. His election should, therefore, not be muddled with the case. The preoccupation of Uhuru now should be to maintain peace, ensure unity among all his political rivals and be ready to put his ambitions in action by transforming Kenya as the economic hub of East Africa.