The last one week has been one of the most eventful yet stressful week. It has tested our patience and resilience as a people. On August 8th Kenya went to one of the most competitive general elections in the history of our democracy. It is generally agreed that the elections were peaceful and Kenyans must be commended for turning out in large numbers. Over 75% of the registered voters participated in shaping the destiny of this great country. People streamed to the polling station early to express their constitutional right. This will go down as one of the most peaceful polls in the history of this nation.
In addition it is worth noting that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries commission, (IEBC), have done a commendable job in spite of the many court cases that they had to contend with before the elections. The 2017 general elections is a great improvement in comparison to previous polls. The Chebukati led commission has proved itself worthy. However, this is not to say that the polls were without challenges; there were a few short-comings which the Commission must address and take lessons before the next polls. The International observers have made commendable remarks regarding the way the commission conducted the polls; from the African Union to the Carter Center. Kenyans have been lauded as very resilient people who are committed to building their nation.
Remember the challenge has never been the participation of Kenyans in the elections, rather transmission of results. The waiting has caused anxiety and suspicion. Unfortunately, due to our bad history of rigging of elections, Kenyans become fearful and suspicious.
In view of what is happening in the country, we need to state a few things. Firstly, we need to protect our hearts from the damage that comes from political fallout. The truth is, political fallout damages our hearts, and as Christians, and worshippers at that, our biggest asset is our hearts. With our hearts we love God, and with it we love humanity. Without it we are hollow and fake, our relationships fail and our faith is undermined. I have found that forgiving the key players is a first step in this.
Secondly, choosing not to profile people, especially those in a camp you don’t support, is a real help. It teaches us that people are never at fault in choosing to support those they do, because they chose to believe, and to hope, and they can therefore never be losers, even if they lose an election. In essence, we never lose by choosing to believe and hope, even if the game of numbers eludes us.
Lastly, as Ronald Reagan said ‘peace is not absence of conflict, it’s the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means’.Peace thrives in an atmosphere of justice. Both are first perceptions, then realities. Perceptions because justice must be seen to be done to the ‘winners’ and ‘looser’, and then be actualized through honest engagement and strong structures. Peace is not the absence of divergences, but the choice to boldly and soberly confront that which disturbs and unsettles us and putting in place a mechanism that will always work. In view of this, I am not your enemy because I am different, I add value to you because I am different. We are stronger because we harness our diversity.
As a Church let us remember that our duty is to pray for those in authority and hold them to account. At a time when political temperatures are high, the winners should tone down their narratives transmitted through the FM radios and social media. All postings should be sober and meant to bring losers and winners together! This is not the time to celebrate using ethnically and politically charged language. Losers and winners are all Kenyans. Kindly continue preaching PEACE AND RESPECT FOR ALL!
“Come; let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” Nehemiah 2:17b
Have a Lovely Sunday