By Tumusiime K. Deo
As the dust comes down on the heated Kenya Presidential elections, millions will be celebrating the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta for several months to come. However, how can anyone consider Kenyatta’s main challenger Raila Odinga to be a loser?
Not by any grain of imagination surely for a man that obtained over five million of the 12 million votes cast. Odinga is merely not President of Kenya today because only one candidate had to take the day, and his performance was no mean achievement at all.
Politics like the game of football is not just a game, but it is a passion for millions of people. It is a source of people’s livelihood; it is a source of people’s identity.
However, when two opposing teams take to the pitch, there is got to be one winner at the end of the day; but when a team plays its best and loses to an injury time winner or loses the game on penalties, it still receives maximum applause from the supporters.
Yes, Raila Odinga played a perfect game and deserves to be credited for keeping it smart till the end.
In the recently concluded Champions League game for example; Manchester United, having played the first half so well, lost to Real Madrid following a disputed Red Card that was showed to United player Luis Nani.
Everyone including the Real Madrid Coach Jose Mourinho acknowledged that his opponents deserved the win. This did not mean that Real Madrid had only come for fun; they too needed the victory.
So as Uhuru and company celebrate their achievement, they should remember to extend a word of congratulation to their opponents and realise that they did not win because their opponents were not good enough; but they were lucky on the day and had the edge.
At the end of it all, Uhuru’s victory is not for him as a person but for Kenya as a country, including those that did not vote for him.
When Uhuru Kenyatta wakes up on his first day as President, he will be received by the reality that both houses of Parliament are filled with big percentage of Odinga supporters.
These together with representatives of his Jubilee Coalition, will be the people he must work with on day to day basis. It is, therefore, pivotal that Uhuru quickly puts all differences with his political nemeses in the interest of serving the national cause.
Meanwhile, it is my humble prayer that the International Criminal Court plays its own politics right and desists from attempting to pound undue pressure on the newly elected President. Kenyans have decided, and made their statement right to the ICC, and their decision must be respected.
Yes, mistakes may have been committed in the 2007 elections, but Kenya has moved on since, and for this matter, we need to embrace the new chapter. Notwithstanding the ICC’s mandate, it is equally crucial that they are able to read and perfectly react to the mood in Kenya without creating unnecessary tension.
I extend my most sincere credit to the IEBC and all other players that had a hand in ensuring a generally peaceful election. Here in Uganda, many of us were able to follow the developments in Kenya right from start to the tail end, thanks to the excellent organisation.
I equally loved the role played by the Kenya media in ensuring that the world was well informed of all proceedings all the way.
The hiccups experienced with the electronic systems were regrettable, but we must all take cognizance of the corrective efforts made by the IEBC towards ensuring a credible end to the election process. Certainly Uganda has a lesson or two to learn from the Kenya electoral process, and I hope we too shall be able to have fairly transparent elections in future.
I join my voice to the rest of the Kenyans in congratulating the winner, but also congratulate Raila Odinga and his team for an election well contested.
May God bless Kenya and may all Kenyans savour the sweetness of a peaceful country.
The writer is an International Communications Consultant