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January 17, 2019

Needed: A transition government in Kenya

Former US President Barack Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Photo/File
Former US President Barack Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Photo/File

After President Barack Obama  handing over power to his successor, there are two questions that remain open at this moment in the country’s history and these are, one, what will his legacy be and two, even more intriguing, what will his successor do to shape that legacy.

These are questions we can only speculate as to answers but one thing that can be said for sure, is by bringing about the massive health care reform that saw more than 20 million Americans get health coverage they otherwise wouldn’t have, Obama has set himself apart as a transformative president taking into account his accomplishments.

Yet, repealing Obamacare as President Obama’s health care programs are referred to has become a rallying-cry for Republicans with the irony being President Obama was re-elected in 2012 notwithstanding widespread hostility to Obamacare so much so it wasn’t much of an issue in 2016 and many doubt the new president and the Republican controlled Congress will do much to replace the program lest they face the wrath of voters come next year worse than is expected to be, anyway, given the anger among many following the elections of 2013.

There’s a reason Obama was reelected in 2012 despite all that he had going against him, including the widespread hostility toward Obamacare that those against it see as a wealth transfer from the haves to the have nots.

This reason is simply once elected in 2008 as the country’s first African American president, President Obama rolled up his sleeves and went to work in delivering an ambitious agenda to reverse the economic mess the country was plunged into by his predecessor George W Bush.

Americans going to the polls in 2012 rewarded Obama for these efforts which he has since built upon to become ranked as one of the country’s top transformative presidents.

The same cannot be said about our own President Uhuru Kenyatta.

There’s isn’t a single thing one can point to that Uhuru has done to transform Kenya such that he can make a case he deserves a second term.

Not one.

On the other hand, one can point to all the promises he made but never kept and the rampant corruption in the country enriching only a few while the rest of the country is either in total poverty or barely surviving to make a very compelling case no, the president does not deserve another term.

Yes, Uhuru was given a chance to transform the country but for one reason or another, he has squandered that opportunity and now one can see a hunger for new leadership at the top even by many in the president’s own backyard.

The only reason President Uhuru gets re-elected is by the opposition not being united which can only be possible because of greed or ego.

On the other hand, if the opposition were to be united and front a single candidate—and the only logical one who can beat Uhuru is Raila, then 2017 will mark the first time in our country’s history when we have a transformative leader as there’s no question if Uhuru were to be defeated, the dynamics of that defeat will be such that Kenyans will demand a new direction for the country that can only be delivered by someone those who waddle in looting and corruption fear the most and that’s none other than Raila.

In 2013, Raila supporters could be heard in bars and social gatherings making the case let’s elect Raila if only to serve one term as a transition president, meaning, to server one term in which to set in motion fundamental reforms in government that would be completed by his successor and others to follow Awambo having taken the country to another level of much desired economic prosperity and welfare.

If there was such a time having such a deal and sticking to it, it is now for without those hungry for power being assured their turn would be sooner, it’s doubtful they’ll be willing to be Raila cheerleaders--an outcome the country cannot afford.

Not with this much hunger for change in the air.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal expert and political commentator in the US

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