By Jerry Okungu
February 27 2013
Kenya’s next general elections are just 48 hours away. It is an event that has been approached with a lot of caution and apprehension since December 2007 when the results ended up in disaster whose impact is still felt to this day.
Since then, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Thousands of internally displaced persons have been resettled using public funds. Yet, there are still some pockets of IDPs yet to be resettled, leave alone those refugees that fled across the border to find refuge in Uganda. Yes, since then we have had our share of partisan politics. It is time we took this brand of politics to bed and let Kenyans decide which way they will vote come Monday morning.
One of the legacies of the post election violence that has refused to go away is the trial of masterminds at The Hague. The mere bureaucracy and the inability of the ICC trial to commence have caused the next elections to catch up with it. And as things stand, there is no telling when the trial will start if it will start at all.
As the ICC continued to drag its feet, key witnesses and victims have died, some under mysterious circumstances while others have gone through natural causes.
This delay has been an embarrassment to the ICC since justice delayed anywhere is justice denied.
As the ICC intimated this week that it may allow a delay of another four months before the case commences, news also filtered from the same court that the case against Francis Muthaura, the man alleged to have planned reprisal attacks in the Rift Valley with Uhuru Kenyatta may not stand. If Muthaura is discharged, that will leave only Uhuru Kenyatta among the three co-accused since General Hussein Ali had been acquitted at the pretrial stage. And with Uhuru Kenyatta’s accomplices acquitted, chances of Uhuru winning the case are very high.
Soon after the Ocampo Six were charged at the ICC, rumour mill went overdrive in Central and Rift Valley provinces trying to apportion blame, with Raila Odinga being accused of having collaborated with Moreno Ocampo the then ICC prosecutor to fix his future political contenders- William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta before the 2012 elections. However, this was not to be.
With the ICC trials now likely to be in August 2013, Uhuru Kenya and William Ruto are firmly in the race for the presidency with William Ruto as Uhuru’s running mate.
As we wait for the ICC trials to begin- whenever that will be, one of the accused, radio producer , Joshua arap Sang has broken ranks with William Ruto claiming that blaming Raila for their woes was all a fabrication. He further claims that the rift between Kalenjins and Kikuyus can only be bridged by Raila Odinga who belongs to neither of the two tribes.
The chaos that followed the last elections gave birth to the grand coalition that forced Mwai Kibaki to share power with Raila Odinga as the country’s second prime minister.
Soon after the formation of the coalition, fresh power struggles started emerging that saw former allies split and former foes coming together. In a series of fallouts, several ministers that were instrumental in negotiation peace in the Kofi Annan team fell by the wayside. Notable come-togethers in these new realignments were Uhuru Kenyatta teaming up with William Ruto, Najib Balala and Charity Ngilu- all former ODM pentagon members.
Also shifting alliances were Kalonzo Musyoka, Kibaki’s Vice President of five years and Moses Wetangula also from Kibaki’s coalition who joined forces with Raila Odinga to face off with the other alliance in next week’s elections.
Away from election politics that have occupied Kenyans for the better part of the last four years, Kenya’s national assembly passed a robust traffic law that was supposed to bring sanity to Kenyan roads. And indeed the launch of the campaign led by the ministry of transport, consumed huge chunks of public funds in the local media. However, a few weeks later, the campaign has died down with road accidents going a notch higher. The madness of matatus drivers and commuter buses still terrorize Nairobi residents with impunity. As I wrote this article there were at least 60 reported deaths on our roads in just two days with no action being taken by the traffic police. Incidentally this high number of casualties didn’t even get a mention in international news yet 18 people dying in India and another 19 at Luxor in Egypt were the news headlines worldwide for the better part of two days.
This brings me to my last point. The last two presidential debates that discussed a whole range of issues, deaths on our roads were conspicuously missing on the menus. Road carnage as a social issue never found its way into the manifestos of competing parties. Is it because Kenyans have accepted lawlessness on our roads as a way of life?
As things stand now, Kenyans are better off closing a chapter on post election violence, terminate all the ICC cases and focus on electing our new crop of leaders. Whoever Kenyans choose to lead them on Monday whether that person is Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga or Uhuru Kenya, let us all prepare to live with the outcome. Kenyans will have spoken.