We can agree to disagree but politics that should not lead to physical fight, hatred and or destruction of property or even loss of life.
- We as politicians will have to play the lead role in reimagining our politics and transforming it from a violent one to a friendly one.
Last weekend on Saturday, May 13, we laid to rest a freedom fighter, Mama Mukami Kimathi, a heroine whose contribution to Kenya’s fight for freedom will forever remain etched on the annals of our history. Mama Mukami was the widow of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi who was assassinated by the colonialists due to his links to the Mau Mau movement.
The solemn occasion was attended by thousands of Kenyans, including high ranking individuals, business people, politicians and top government officials led by President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua.
Mama Mukami was eulogised as a selfless and patriotic Kenyan who risked it all for the good of the country.
It is, however, regrettable that she died without seeing the remains of her husband given a befitting burial as per her wishes. Kimathi’s body was buried at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison by the colonialists. The President, while delivering his eulogy, gave a commitment to have the remains of Kimathi exhumed and given a dignified sendoff.
Among the high-ranking personalities who attended the burial ceremony was the opposition chief Raila Odinga. It was the first time Ruto and Raila were sharing a platform since the acrimonious August 2022 presidential elections.
All eyes were on the two on what would be the nature, content and tone of their speeches. You know we politicians make very good use of such opportunities to push our message home the best way we can.
Raila was in his element. He embellished his eulogy in attention-grabbing history of the struggle for our independence. It is given that the ODM chief's grasp of history is ironclad. Turning to politics, he tore into government policies and viciously criticised the President’s tax measures. He claimed to know the President very well based on their previous political engagements.
When it was the President’s turn to speak, he paid glowing tribute to the late heroine, sold his administration’s progressive agenda and defended the government over the missiles of attacks delivered by Raila. For a man with great oratory skills, it was expected that he would pay the ODM chief with the same coin.
Ruto did not refute claims by Raila of knowing him only too well. He, nevertheless, added that he too knows the Azimio leader, revealing that the knowledge his modus operandi proved advantageous as it helped him defeat the Azimio candidate in the last general election.
The President left the crowd in stitches with his cunning response, so was Raila. It should be noted that the two political rivals never uttered politically divisive statements at the function. They merely traded friendly fire, which is normal in political speeches. The duo would later share a podium at the Kipkeino World Classic at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, to cheer our athletes.
They exchanged pleasantries and were captured on camera shaking hands, hugging and jumping in celebrations.
It was definitely a weekend of reconciliation as the two leaders were reunited the following day on Sunday, May 14, at the Kasarani stadium during the Mashemeji derby between arch rivals the mighty Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards. The match attracted a huge crowd of fans from either side and AFC did not do justice by flogging Gor Mahia two goals to one.
The meeting between the President and the Azimio leader carries with it a lot of symbolism, semblance of reconciliation and plenty of lessons to be learned.
The takeaway for us as a country and their followers is that political competition should not breed enmity. We can agree to disagree but that should not lead to a physical fight, hatred and or destruction of property or even loss of life.
This is fundamentally important as the way we play our politics has a direct impact on our economy. Political stability is a key pillar of a stable economy. Thus, supporters of various political leaders must appreciate the fact that we can play politics and still be friends with the opposite side. This will help alleviate animosity and inculcate a culture of political tolerance and understanding amongst us as Kenyans.
We as politicians will have to play the lead role in reimagining our politics and transforming it from a violent one to a friendly one. We must be good role models to our supporters. You can’t imagine what the mere fact that Ruto and Raila shared a podium last weekend and exchanged pleasantries did to the efforts of peace and reconciliation in our country.
Talking of peace and reconciliation, the war in Sudan is still raging on without an end in sight. Civilians are trapped in the crossfire as destruction and bombardments continue in the capital city of Khartoum. Millions are starving and thousands have lost their lives.
The warring factions have refused to silence their guns in favour of a peaceful resolution of the conflict further complicating the already worsening situation. Intense fighting has continued despite the Saudi and US-brokered talks between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
It has come a time that Intergovernmental Authority on Development and international agencies like AU and UN to double their efforts and find a lasting solution to the conflict obliterating the nation.
This is necessary so as to save the country from total ruin and imminent collapse as a result of the unending conflict. The people of Sudan must not be let down.
MDG party leader and Ugenya MP