The Star (Nairobi)

20 December 2012

Kenya: Why We Must Ensure the March 4 Poll Is Peaceful

opinion

The historic 2013 general election is taking shape going by the events of the last few days. There is a palpable sense of urgency to be on the right side of history.

The majority may not be very sure what the political luminaries have in store for them, but they are certain that there will be an election in March 2013.

The 2013 polls are very important for Kenya because of past experience. It has been a five year long journey of discovery and soul searching.

It is therefore significant for Kenyans to know that the next election will have a major impact on Kenya's image and reputation going forward.

Kenya has positioned herself as the commercial and ICT hub of the East African region. Kenya is the gateway to East and Central Africa and the financial capital of the region.

Indeed our sisters in the East Africa Community will be watching for the slightest hint of trouble. This is because they depend on the port city of Mombasa for import and export of cargo, the Jomo Kenyatta international airport for connections and the industrial base in Nairobi for their supplies.

Kenya has grown in leaps and bounds as a tourist destination for our brothers and sisters from Uganda and Tanzania. Thousands continue to seek medical treatment and care from hospitals in Kenya as an alternative to Asia and Southern Africa.

Investors will be watching keenly how Kenyans will conduct themselves before and after the elections. Kenya's general election will no doubt be a subject of many a corporate boardroom discussions in Africa, Europe and Asia.

Foreign Governments will be reviewing the state of affairs and considering whether to impose travel bans or not. Kenyan exporters of tea, coffee, flowers and horticulture will be wishing that the nightmares of 2008 will not return to decimate their produce and profit margin.

But whether or not investors and tourists are watching Kenya, this country belongs to Kenyans. This election is about our future. This election is about safeguarding the gains we have made over the last fifty years.

This election is about peaceful coexistence, harnessing our cultural diversity and respecting the rule of law. This election is about Vision 2030. The future of this country is in our hands. Let us vote for peace. Mimi ni Kenya na Kenya ni Mimi.

Musyoki Kivindyo is the director of communications at the Brand Kenya Board.

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