Kenya needs mature and calm leader like Nelson Mandela

Kenya needs mature and calm leader like Nelson Mandela

By Dr David Matsanga in Surrey, London

I always like telling the truth as it is: Raila Odinga (pictured above with Sabina Chege and US official) is best suited for moving Kenya forward.

 This is the first part of my articles I will write until Election day in August 2022.

 I feel like educating the people of Africa on Peace and Reconciliation.

The case of Raila's efforts to leave a united Kenya is one such noble act that Africa needs at the moment.

Odinga's handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta is a milestone towards a united Kenya.

The handshake is blow to those who think politics is a matter of life and death.

After many years of struggle, sacrifice and incarceration, Nelson Mandela came out and shook hands with Fredrick De Klerk, the then head of Apartheid regime against which Madiba had dedicated his life and liberty fighting.

It was a symbolic and highly significant act of peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and an opening of new Chapter of unity in diversity within the Republic of South Africa.

When Mandela formed government, De Klerk was one of his deputies. That is what was called Rainbow Nation.

In 2003 Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shook hands with Palestinian leader Mohamed Abas as a sign of the beginning of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East. Both leaders have cemented Legacies. Sharon is dead but the Legacy lives on.

That day, Mr Sharon stated that it's up to Palestinians to govern themselves.

In essence, he endorsed two state solution...Israel and Palestine living alongside each other in peace.

To the surprise of many and against a backdrop of heightened protests by Israelites, Ariel Sharon surrendered to Arabs and went ahead to demolish Israeli settlements in those areas.

There are many examples where world leaders’ step from hard-line positions and shake hands for the greater good of society.

That spirit of compromise, patience and wisdom to sacrifice and respect other people's views and accommodate their interests is what makes statesmen and sustains world peace.

Its wisdom acquired with time, learned from mistakes as well as ups and downs of life and leadership.

Don't forget that Mandela was a revolutionary per excellence. The trial of Mandela was historical which points healing.

At some point he was declared an outlaw, a wanted terrorist.

Arial Sharon was a radical leftist General who led the invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

However, with passage of time, this elder statesman adopted reconciliation and accommodation as sine qua non for a better world.

We have examples here in Kenya. After 1997 General Election, Raila shook hands with President Daniel Moi, his jailer and tormentor of his father, Jaramogi Odinga Oginga.

 This action caught many by sacrifice. Some read betrayal. But it made him a GIANT OF RECONCILLIATION.

Others rightly saw the move as a wise strategy. This is because Raila was pragmatic...that the Moi state was so powerful that it was an illusion to imagine dismantling the regime from donor created platforms and flowery speeches.

He knew that time for change of tactics had come and Moi's tyranny could only be dissolved from within!

This stratagem was acknowledged by all and sundry when it bore fruits after the famous thunder at Uhuru Park "Kibaki Tosha".

This led to an epochal handshake between Mwai Kibaki and Raila and brought the most inclusive government in Kenya so far.

Raila's action also made it possible for Kibaki to become president and transform the country in an unprecedented way.

After the bungled 2007 election, Raila and Kibaki shook hands once again and restored peace in the country leading to the formation of the Grand Coalition government.

Raila conceded to the position of Prime Minister, even though an international commission led by South African Judge Krigler ruled that it wasn't possible to know who between Kibaki and Raila really won the election.

But Raila sacrificed for the sake of the country. History will always remember the role he played in partnership with Mwai Kibaki for Kenya to realise the 2010 Constitution.

In any human enterprise involving more than two people, there's bound to be differences. In such situations, some people tend to go underground and scheme downfall of the person holding a differing opinion.

Others like Raila speak in the open. Even when he differed on certain issues with Kibaki, Moi or even Uhuru, Raila does not go to conspire and connive in some darkroom.

He speaks out with courage and in patriotic pursuit of justice and/or solutions.

In 2018 Raila and Uhuru shook hands once again to calm down the nation after a highly divisive 2017 general election whose first round was actually nullified by the Supreme Court.

Raila agreed to remove his agitated supporters from the streets and work with President Uhuru's government to foster a spirit of peace, inclusion, Equity and equality.

The other goal was to mould a united Kenya and create an environment for economic prosperity of the nation.

William Ruto, the Deputy President was opposed to the above stated goals and waged a guerrilla, underhand war against the president.

 He wrongly saw the handshake as a threat to his presidential ambitions.

He elevated his individual interests above those of the nation.

That's how he abdicated his duties and started early campaigns as the President was engaged in working for the country.

Dr Ruto caused division in government and tried to sabotage the government the best he could.

This was despite pleas by the President to stop campaigns and first deliver to Kenyans! I have no personal issues with William Ruto. But this is the plain truth though so much propaganda has been thrown around.

There comes a time when a nation requires a leader with the maturity and calmness of Nelson Mandela. A leader who has seen it all! A leader who's an encyclopedia of wisdom gathered over the years. For Kenya at present, that leader is Raila Odinga.

A man whose patriotic sacrifices and compromises spread across successive Kenyan regimes.  An elder, a cool head whose role as president will be supervising, directing and advising youthful citizens and technocrats working under him.

William Ruto has a long way. He has a lot to learn.

One salient feature about Mr. Odinga is his crusade for inclusion and unity of the country.

 That is why he has always created and encouraged broad coalitions of leaders from all corners of Kenya.

The brief for Raila is to transform the national mindset into that of oneness, industry, justice, accommodation and patriotic service.

Raila knows where the problem is and has the solutions.

It is true that some of the candidates have created problems for Kenya but have no solutions to them. So a vote for Raila means a vote for UNITY OF PURPOSE for one Kenya without ethnicity.


God bless Kenya


Writer is the Founder of Pan African Forum (UK)Ltd and also a Political Scientist and conflict Resolution expert @Dr.Matsanga


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