Rtd President Moi enticed Raila to join KANU in 2001. Photo courtesy.
WHY I OPPOSE THE GOLDEN HANDSHAKE
By Anwar Sadat
I oppose the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Former Prime Minister Odinga not because I am an enemy of peace, but because the handshake is premised on a fallacious and simplistic notion that the gross human rights violations, atrocities, and murders committed pre and post 2017 election against the citizens of Kenya was because of a “disagreement between brothers” and therefore a handshake between these brothers is the panacea for the problem of politically motivated violence that we have experienced over the last five decades.
When Mr. Odinga walked only with his daughter and personal lawyer to meet President Uhuru at Harambee House, whether his intentions was to seek peace or for personal aggrandizement, Mr. Odinga demonstrated that he either does not fully understand the political crisis that the nation has gone through, or he was simply an opportunists ridding on the aspirations and desires of most Kenyans for a better society for personal interests.
I say this because at the center of the political conflict and the unnecessary deaths that have resulteud from it has been STATE SPONSORED TERRORISM. Over the past 50 years of our independence, the custodians of state power have changed and the protagonists of holders of state power, those whose tribemates had to bear the burden of state terrorism, too have changed. We had Kenyatta senior; Moi; Kibaki; and now Uhuru. Though successive governments have killed people over the last 50 years, tribal animosity have amplified the problems since the advent of multi-party politics with every election since the introduction of multi-party politics bringing with it untold pain and suffering to a section of our citizenry.
As Raila was rising through the ranks of opposition politics, positioning himself as a credible contender to the Kenyan presidency, there were other senior politicians before him like Matiba, Kibaki, and their tribes who endured state sponsored violence, intimidation, forced eviction, and loss of property.
When the Kenyan presidency could still be won by a simple majority in the 1992, and 1997 elections, the custodians of state machinery and power then did everything to ensure that Kikuyus did not vote. We have a generation of kikuyus born and raised in makeshift camps during this great exodus and forced migration of Kikuyus from parts of Rift Valley to ensure that Matiba or Kibaki could be elected then. The suffering and pain of those days still remain etched in the minds and memory of these individuals. Matiba, because of the detentions and torture of Nyayo has never been able to lead a normal life.
In the elections of 2007 and 2017 when Mr. Odinga supported by others like Ruto, was the leading challenger to those holding state power, some of whom he played a significant role in their ascension to the throne like President Kibaki, It’s the Luos and Kalenjins who endured the brunt of state sponsored terror. Thousands lost their lives and properties in the ensuing conflict occasioned by a disputed presidential election.
Mr. Odinga is therefore not the sole custodian of the issues that have degenerated into political conflict every election cycle that he can purport that on the account of shaking the hands of the current custodian of state power, President Uhuru, long lasting peace that has remained elusive for decades will now suddenly be achieved.
It may be lost to Mr. Odinga that PNU politicians accused him after the 2007 elections as the reason for the post-election violence. They said that Kenyans died because Mr. Odinga did not accept defeat by Kibaki in that election. This is a position that even President Uhuru Kenyatta eloquently spoke about during the 2017 election. By secretly dealing with President Kenyatta, Raila validates such arguments that had he accepted the outcome of those elections he has disputed, no Kenyan would have ever been killed.
We all need a lasting peace and not one based on MOUs between politicians. Politicians come and go; alliances are formed every election cycle but No Kenyan should ever be worried that peace can only exist if certain political coalitions are formed or only if their leading politicians are aligned with custodians of state power. We all should be guaranteed peace irrespective of who is president.hh
Such peace can only be achieved if it’s based on the concept of truth and justice. The first step towards such peace involves an acceptance of the part of those who have committed crimes against others that they have committed those crimes; a discussion about justice as regards those crimes committed as we have witnessed in places like Rwanda; and then a resolve that as a nation, learning from the difficulties of our past, we will always pursue peace.
As a nation, we must also understand and accept, especially on the part of those that control state power, that national leadership is a delegated responsibility exercised on behalf and for the benefit of the Kenyan people. And that the people have the rights from time to time in a manner that is popularly agreed upon like elections, to change their government when those government ceases to represent the wishes and aspirations of the majority; This is the essence of Democracy.
This culture must begin from our political parties and propagated upwards to the national election. It cannot be that those who deny the people an opportunity to exercise their free will at the party nominations would expect that such privileges be accorded them at the national level.
Until such a time that the foundation of peace shall be truth and justice, all MOU’s between politicians shall never guarantee lasting peace. Such MOU’s only transfer those pain from one tribe to the next, depending on who is the protagonist of those holding state power is in every election cycle.
A handshake shall never bring peace that NATIONAL ACCORD hasn’t. If we can’t obey laws in our constitution, why would we obey and enforced MOUs?