Monday, April 08, 2013

The next one.

My sojourn at the Coast comes to an end in a few days. I will miss the changing of the guard in Nairobi, but that is neither here nor there. Few, if any, worries flit in my empty skull, not being one to incessantly worry about the "What ifs" of the future. Security, it seems, is in the hands of men and women who know what they are doing. As does the transititon from the Kibaki Interregnum to the Uhuru reign. Whether he will have a firm grasp of the reins of power, what with his hands full of the instruments of power that Mwai Kibaki is going to dump on him, remains to be seen. After all, he has chosen one of the most dynamic, intelligent and ambitious politicians for his Deputy. In William Ruto, Mr Kenyatta has the potential of a dedicated partner in his governance project or a dangerous King Cobra at the heart of his administration.

CORD, on the other hand, is a ship at sea. Its losses since March Fourth continue to mount, and if Aden Duale has his way, CORD will be left with the PIC and PAC as the only watchdog committees of Parliament in its hands. While I harbour grave doubts about Mr Duale's intellect, I have no doubt that he has matured into an intelligent and effective political attack dog. He will make sure that CORD does not enjoy a second of peace over the life of UhuRuto's life.

The issues that bedevilled Mwai Kibaki's administration are going to bedevil Uhuru Kenyatta's. But Mr Kenyatta does not enjoy the near-imperial power that Mwai Kibaki or his predecessors did. He has t contend with a Parliament and county governors who may not see his writ as holy. Mr Kenyatta must stamp his authority over the TNA parliamentary party; otherwise, he may find himself negotiating with an undisciplined rabble that has, in the past, demonstrated a tendency to rogue behaviour, especially when it comes to self-aggrandizing schemes. He also faces the challenge ow working with spectacularly ego-centric governors who have already demonstrated in their first few public events that their main concern is not service to the people but to themselves.

It is now emerging that we are woefully uninformed about the content of the Jubilee manifesto, despite the pomp that accompanied its launch. Everyone is obsessed with the speed with which the freebies will be distributed by the UhuRuto government; none seems to care much for their economic or diplomatic policies. Today, Kenya is on the record that it will support all international efforts to hold those accused of heinous crimes to account; but the two have been indicted at the International Criminal Court. Whether one thinks they should stand trial or not, how they thread that needle while managing the diplomatic minefield to which they find themselves will be a test to their planning, cunning and intelligence. I see a glimmer of hope though; the recent statements by doyens of the human rights world may actually kill the ICC trials. But it is in international trade that Messrs Kenyatta and Ruto should devote the lion's share of their diplomatic efforts. Kenya must be allowed to trade with who it wants and on its own terms. And this trade must transfer valuable technology and skills to Kenya. It is the only way that we can achieve the lofty objectives of Kenya Vision 2030.

We should all look forward to a peaceful inaugural ceremony tomorrow. We should pray that despite the poisonous air of the presidential campaign, this atmosphere will not pervade politics for the next five years. We should all hope that Parliamentarians and governors get it into their heads that theirs is not the place to demand ever fatter wallets but to serve with humility and dedication in the hope that we will reward them for their efforts. We should try and nurture the goodwill we enjoy as a nation in the hopes that it will be converted into peace and stability for the long haul. It's time we stood up and were counted.

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