I was reading last weekend about Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o turning up at a peace rally organised by his Kericho counterpart Paul Chepkwony to discuss peace initiatives for communities who live on the shared border of their respective counties.
It can’t have been easy, as the governors’ parties are currently at loggerheads and the members seem to be digging in for a long-drawn-out impasse.
However, the two put their people above mere parties and are actively looking to solve what could be a messy situation.
The story gave me hope that all is not lost in Kenya, and that there are sensible people of good will ready to put in the hard work to sort out our problems.
In the end, what will probably happen in Kenya is that there will be some sort of political solution cobbled together by interested parties with a view to getting the country back to something like normal in the short term.
The problem is, we’ve been here before and our greatest trouble as a nation is that we tend to opt for short-term solutions to our ever-increasing list of long-term problems.
We seem to be afraid to do the hard work required to fix the problems. It is a little like walking along a road after a powerful storm and finding a tree has fallen across it, blocking the way ahead. As Kenyans, especially those from what I like to refer to as the ‘serekali saidia’ and ‘mungu saidia’ schools of thought, many of us will opt to skirt around the tree, carrying on with the journey, trusting the next person to come along will deal with it.
As Kenyans, we need to come to the realisation that we have difficult decisions to make about the obstacles in the road, like the storm-damaged tree. We cannot afford to leave it for amorphous groups of ‘others’ to fix.
One of the ways would be a truth and justice process. I’m aware this has been suggested before but we must stop finding excuses never to complete the process.
The question is, are we willing to do the hard work required? Are we willing to uncover unhealed wounds that we collectively plastered over and hoped for the best, knowing deep down inside that it would not lead to healing?
In my view, this is the only political solution that will encourage dialogue about all matters we have swept under the carpet since 1963, and which are the basis of our current situation.
Perhaps our leaders need to internalise this quote from Tony Blair, whom I never had much time for, but who could occasionally come up with a turn of phrase to suit certain times: “Some may belittle politics but we know it is where people stand tall. And although I know it has its many harsh contentions, it is still the arena which sets the heart beating fast. It may sometimes be a place of low skullduggery but it is more often a place for more noble causes.”