10 March 2013

Kenyan Democracy Comes of Age

Photo: UNDP
Kenyans maintain peace following poll results (file photo).


Kenya went into elections amidst apprehensions that it would re-live the nightmares of 2007, where thousands died because of a disputed election.

The international media had braced itself for a repeat, but they were disappointed. The loser, while contesting the outcome, urged his supporters to abide by the constitutional dispensation of leaving disputes to the courts - a noble stand indeed - instead of calling them on the streets.

The Kenyan electorate showed maturity in putting the fate of their country in their hands, but as political observers pointed out, it was also a strong message to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

And as President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta said in his acceptance speech, they were ready to abide by international obligations, but the latter also had to respect the sovereignty of states.

Both Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, are targets of the court.

The previous elections put an indelible scar on the path to democracy, and nearly brought the country to its knees and paralysed the economy of its land-locked neighbouring states. Transport routes were blocked and rail lines uprooted at the instigation of bitter politicians.

But the just ended one that ushered in Uhuru Kenyatta and his team, is an example that Kenyans have moved on; the stability of their nation is greater than individuals, and there is no greater manifestation of patriotism than that.

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