By George Kimando
I will be straight to the point on this one.
Last Tuesday, i did a special missive calling upon Kenyans to exercise restraint and magnanimity as they celebrated or commiserated the wins and losses of their preferred candidates in the just concluded general elections.
This was after observing the kind of insults, taunts and jibes thrown across the political divide. At a time when people were still hurting from the losses of their chosen candidates, this could very easily trigger consequences that would be unhealthy and unpleasant.
It’s not even about being a believer, but being humane, gracious and humble in victory, cognisance that we are dealing with unmet expectations and emotions of depravity.
It’s not easy.
Fortunately, many Kenyans have taken the highway of ‘accept and move on’, leaving politicians and their aides to pursue recourse where they feel aggrieved. This is very commendable and encouraging.
Even more heartening are the many candidates who conceded their losses and congratulated the winners, promising to work together; this includes a candidate who lost a ward election by one vote (one vote!).
I was most impressed by the getting together for tea by Nairobi governor-elect, Johnson Sakaja and his main competitor, Polycarp Igathe, seemingly telling Nairobians and Kenyans in general, ‘hey, we had a good game, it’s over, now we get to serious business; we all have something to offer, let’s shake hands and mutually relate’.
This is the right spirit.
Unfortunately, there are still those who are trading accusations and counter accusations regarding the elections, especially with the expected petition of the Presidential vote.
What worries me is the thinly veiled pronouncements of ‘sorting you guys out’, even as the President-elect promises a no-vengeance approach by his administration, barring an overturning of his election by the court.
And there is reason for this concern.
If you have followed Kenyan politics in the last couple of years especially, you would admit the clearly unconventional and blatant harassment of those on the declared winning side by the government that has been.
Some media platforms have been shockingly expletive and unapologetic on the personalized attacks on the person of the President-elect and his key lieutenants.
Various civil servants and leaders have been vicious in ‘cutting him to size’, confident that he will never rise to the coveted office.
All manner of insults and vice words have been thrown across. We have seen it all in public rallies and on social media especially.
Now that he is there, we must remind him of his pledge to foster national unity without being vindictive to any of his enemies; those who derided, disdained and disparaged him with utter contempt and disrespect.
Even as this goes to both sides of the political divide (they are all guilty here), we must impress more on the President-elect since he is the one who will hold the instruments of power, including legal violence if need, and who – quite frankly – would have every reason to prove a point to his long time detractors.
Much as the temptation would present, he must remember he is the President of all, and he must of essence lead in healing the nation.
While we urge forgiveness and reconciliation, we must remind those on the opposing divides that for this to be complete, contrition and confession are essential.
It’s not easy to forgive and let go an unremorseful offender, especially when one has the upper hand.
The converse is also true, appreciating reality when on the underdog side.
It’s called wisdom.
Have a wisdom full Sunday, and a great week ahead.