Avoid what will push us back to
12. March 2008
After the euphoria that greeted the signing of the power-sharing
accord by President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga, it was hoped that
all the tension, suspicion, brinkmanship, self-serving propaganda
and hysteria that had characterised political relations since
December 30 last year would be a thing of the past.
But, alas, old habits die hard, and it looks like our politicians
have forgotten that trying to upstage one another will never carry
this country forward.
This country has undergone a very traumatic experience, the result
of a blatantly flawed election process, during which our great
nation was literally awash in blood.
It took a Herculean task by men and women of goodwill to help us
pick up the pieces again, harass our two leaders into a political
accommodation despite unending intrigues by some of their diehard
loyalists, and start getting our act together.
It happened when the two principals agreed to share government
responsibilities under an arrangement whose details are yet to be
Now there is great danger that the whole arrangement might come
unstuck due to what appears like mischief by some players on
either side of the political divide, through pronouncements which
threaten to scuttle that unity of purpose.
Kenyans cannot, and will not, allow them to do so. There is too
much to lose.
On Sunday, the reading public was regaled with a list purporting
to represent what share of Government jobs ODM would get in the
new dispensation. That list read like fairy-land stuff, and the
party was quick to distance itself from the contents.
Then on Tuesday, the Head of Public Service came up with job
descriptions for the two principals and the Vice-President which
only succeeded in ruffling feathers, for it was not clear on whose
mandate Mr Francis Muthaura was purporting to assign duties.
This, too, left Kenyans confused because, as far as they know, the
post of prime minister and his two deputies has not even been
endorsed by Parliament.
Besides that, a bipartisan Transition Committee which was supposed
to negotiate this important issue has, apparently, not started
Caught in a time-warp
Now, with all those loose ends, and possibly, because of them,
Kenyans would be forgiven if they felt as though they are caught
in a time-warp Ė going neither backwards nor forward.
Kenyans cheered an experiment in governance which they hoped would
get them out of the rut. But already, due to the obvious jostling
for top positions, they are beginning to wonder whether they are,
again, being taken for a ride.
As a Nation columnist asked the other day, was all this agony
suffered for the sake of seeking lucrative jobs for the boys or
because our leaders want to seek the best possible ways to heal
We cannot afford to walk the path of confrontation again. We
cannot afford an attitude of politics-as-usual.
We have agreed that power and responsibility be shared equitably
amongst all the major political players. The spirit of this
accommodation is in place, though Parliament has yet to make the
In every likelihood, the current debate is being prosecuted by
hardliners on both sides whose views are not necessarily those of
It is a mistake to allow the voices of unreason to drown out those
of reason. Nor does it make sense for jobseekers to take charge of
the game, decide what jobs to assign themselves and proceed to
Our advice is this: Stop bickering; there are enough jobs to go
round. Give Mr Odinga and President Kibaki room to reflect and
assign you your jobs. Donít forget there will be no apples if you
upset the apple cart.
Negotiations and compromise are what brought us this far from the
precipice. Negotiations and compromise are the only way to keep
hope alive, so that one day, we can all shout in unison: Never