Sunday, April 07, 2013

Kiai and Mutua: You are on your own.

It is interesting to observe how the ones who campaigned against the election of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, and who invested so heavily in the election petitions challenging the results of the election, are faring after the Supreme Court of Kenya declared that the election of the two was valid. The Mutunga Court, after fourteen days of intense legal gymnastics, declared that despite the irregularities that even the IEBC admitted had occurred, the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president and that of William Ruto as deputy president was after all valid. Raila Odinga swiftly accepted the verdict of the court. However, there are those who are still fighting the election and the re-litigating the election petitions, long after everyone else has set their minds to move on.


Maina Kiai, the former head of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Makau Mutua, the director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, had done everything in their power to ensure that first, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto would not be on the ballot, and second, failing in that mission, to ensure they lost the election petition challenging their election. The two are two for two: Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were on the ballot and the court dismissed the petition challenging their election.


Messrs Kiai and Mutua have not taken the news well. Mr Kiai penned a poisonous diatribe against "home guards" linked to the Uhuru presidency and another one calling the Charperson of the IEBC vile names for the manner in which his lawyer, the combatively indefatigable Ahmednasir Abdullahi, defended him in court. Makau Mutua has declared categorically that he will not and cannot accept Uhuru Kenyatta as the president of Kenya.


For two eminent human rights campaigners to treat the will of at least 6 million Kenyans in such a cavalier manner beggars belief. The Second Liberation was all about unleashing the will of the people to make the choices that they will without the nannying, oppressive hand of the government leading them hither and thither. With the dismantling of the KANU machinery that had been abused by former presidents, Kenyans overwhelmingly ratified a new constitution that guaranteed them democratic rights that had been stifled for decades. The flip side of the bargain was that politicians, whether standing for the presidency or some other public office, had to offer themselves to the people in the most persuasive way possible. Mr Makau continues to argue that Mr Kenyatta is an insider and that he benefited from his links to the government and its machinery. He refuses to accept that Mr Kenyatta and the wily Mr Ruto made a compelling case to the people of Kenya, persuading many from areas other than their strongholds in the Mt Kenya region and the Rift Valley.


Some of us were opposed to the election of Uhuru Kenyatta or William Ruto and we made our feelings known at the ballot. That battle is now past and we are prepared to live with our choices, or lack of them. Some of us were never persuaded that the two should not be on the ballot, regardless of the persuasion from Messrs Kiai and Mutua. We never agreed that the ICC was the killer knock-out punch that would deny them their place on the ballot. And we never agreed with the two that they were hamstrung by Chapter 6 of the Constitution. We thought that their manifesto was a pipe-dream; now we will see whether they will prove us wrong once again. But we will not join Messrs Kiai and Mutua in their poisonous campaign against a government that is yet to even take office officially; that is a path to heartache or worse. We will do what other patriots are doing: we will work with the government we have to make our lives a little better.

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