Here’s bitter truth for the ODM and PNU Protagonists
Published on February 25, 2008, 12:00 am
By Otuma Ongalo
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
Principal protagonists in the political deadlock need to ponder over this biblical verse this week, which is set to be either decisive or explosive.
It is the week that Mr Kofi Annan is set to emerge from Serena Hotel -– crestfallen or cheerful – to make an announcement that will determine the destiny of our nation.
Regardless of the outcome, it won’t be Annan’s triumph or defeat. When all is said and done he will fly back to New York or Accra as Kenyans prevail or perish.
The nation is at a crossroads and the two main protagonists — President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga —must demonstrate who between them is made up of sterner stuff of leadership. As they argue who between them won the presidential election, the big question is: For what will it profit a politician to win the presidency but lose the country?
Kenya is teetering on the brink of collapse and the hero between the two is one who will make the toughest choice to save millions of wananchi.
As we approach the decisive moment, the ‘my vote was stolen’ and ‘I was duly elected’ sentiments no longer matter. The issue of who won or lost is no longer of prime interest. The Electoral Commission of Kenya does not know either. The most important thing is to heed caution and link hands to forestall the country’s slide to anarchy.
Since the escalation of violence, there have been appeals and persuasions for Kibaki and Raila to make hard choices and save the nation. The time for persuasion is running out and it is time the two are told the bitter truth. And they are galore.
One, the victory that both of you proclaim is not your birthright. It is a privilege bestowed upon you by millions of people who are now suffering in refugee camps and many others who have been maimed or killed.
Two, when this nation slides into anarchy, you, your families and friends will be victims like the rest of Kenyans — if not worse. When Kenya becomes another Somalia, no high walls or army will ensure your safety. There will be no place to hide and even if you somehow flee into exile, your life will never be the same again. A pauper in a free world is better than a king in exile.
Three, if this country falls, you and your associates have got much to lose than the average Kenyan. Apart from their lives, millions of Kenyans have got nothing to lose save basic household goods. You have invested a lot in this country and you certainly wouldn’t want to see your painstaking investment go down the drain simply because you want to reside in State House.
Four, the impasse we are experiencing is because you focus on your personal interests — and those of your cronies — instead of thinking about posterity. As the negotiations go on, do not ask yourself what you are going to gain in the bargain.
We should have a system that shall withstand the test of time so that your children and grandchildren shall never go through what we are experiencing.
Five, you both have a sizeable following that you should not take for granted. When things go wrong, it will be everyone for himself or herself. While you can still manage your followers, make use of the opportunity to call for calm. Remember, you can feed a monster but once it achieves its own life, it will feed on you.
Six, both of you are under pressure from your allies to stick to certain positions. If the country goes to the dogs, it is your names that will feature prominently — in blood — in Kenya’s eulogy and epitaph. A mention of your names will send shivers in the spines of posterity.
Seven, you are steadfast in your quest to rule this nation. You will only enjoy your dream if you lead a steady and prosperous nation. If you maintain standoff, you are likely to fight to a tragic end like the Kilkenny cats. At the end of the battle, you would be left with a nation that you would not like to be associated with.
In a nutshell, when the two of you decide amicably who gets whatever position and power, it will be your personal triumph and that of those who may benefit from what falls from your table.
If you fail to agree, it will be a national tragedy and the ensuing fire shall not spare you. Do not send the nation down the precipice. I rest my case.
The writer is The Standard Senior Editor, Production and Quality