Going by the aftermath of the last Presidential runoff in Kenya, the country should be experiencing a civil war at this moment. The main actors of this shameful drama President Uhuru Kenyatta and the country’s opposition leader Ralia Odinga have literally turned the election into a farce with both declaring themselves as President of the East Africa country. Odinga and his followers constituted a parallel government and tensions were being heightened in the country as an outbreak of war was imminent.
President Kenyatta initially exacerbated the issues by labeling members of the Judiciary as corrupt for nullifying his elections but common sense prevailed. Today, Uhuru Kenyatta and Ralia Odinga have found common ground and worked on a truce. This was displayed recently at the country’s National breakfast prayer meeting where Kenyatta publicly begged Ralia Odinga for forgiveness as a result of everything he might have done wrong to him during the electioneering process.
Odinga displayed a rare act of statesmanship by accepting the apology and he embraced the President while they both posed for pictures. At the moment the video of that auspicious moment have garnered millions of views on YouTube and shared more than 10 million times across social media platforms.
While watching the video, what came to my mind is Nigeria. Our country has the highest population of leaders with bitterness and they’ve failed to forgive each other or at least publicly shown through their actions that elections shouldn’t devolve into ethnic or religious wars, or do the necessary work that address the grievances of each ethno-political group and work towards mutual resolution.
For example the Nigerian state is yet to accept the fact that the Biafra war was a genocide whose wound won’t go away by declaring no victor no vanquished but by forgiveness. We’ve failed to forgive each other and till today the South East is still flying the Biafran Flag.
President Buhari best illustrated this enduring resentment towards the agitations for the South East through his divisive 97% and 5% statement as relating to the Niger delta among other states that gave him low votes and he has ruled the country with that divisive mentality till today as seen in the DSS recruitment and the latest Police recruitment.
Nigerian leaders are enjoined to take a cue from Kenyatta and Odinga and unite to lift up the country.