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A New Beginning

Apr 15, 2008, 6:03 AM

Kenya got off to a new start at the weekend with the announcement of a new power-sharing cabinet. Under the new cabinet, Raila Odinga, the opposition leader who had accused President Mwai Kibaki of rigging the 27 December presidential vote, is now the new Prime Minister. Besides, his party Orange Democratic Movement has a deputy Prime Minister - Musalia Mudavadi. The other deputy Prime Minister is Uhuru Kenyatta of Kibaki's Party of National Unity.

Things spiralled out of control in Kenya when the opposition party alleged that the incumbent Kibaki had rigged the presidential election. The resultant violence led to 1500 deaths and 600,000 people displaced. When it was widely feared that Kenya was on the brink of a civil war, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan brokered a power-sharing deal. But there was lack of agreement over the division of ministers, which led to a long drawn out delay over the implementation of the Kofi Annan deal.

But at last, the voice of wisdom has prevailed, and Kenya is now back on track. "Let us build a new Kenya where justice is our shield and defender, and where peace, liberty and plenty will be found throughout our country," President Kibaki told the coalition cabinet.

We agree with that both sides of the political divide has to let bygones be bygones and start working towards making Kenya great again. We emphasize African politicians must learn to bury the hatchet in the overall interest of their respective countries. In hindsight, we regret to say that 1600 people needlessly lost their lives in Kenya, and many more were subjected to needless hardships. If politics is for the promotion of the welfare of the people, then our politicians who often resort to violence to settle their political differences having been failing the people.

What has happened in Kenya should serve as a new way of doing things on this continent, allowing common sense and foresight to guide our actions. We say this because of the unfolding drama in Zimbabwe where we fear that there may be recourse to violence to sort out the mounting election crisis. Because of what we have already seen in Kenya, African leaders would be wise to start appealing to both the ruling party and the opposition to exercise restraint, while they work out a formula that would take care of the Zimbabwe problem once and for all.

We heartily congratulate all the political actors in the Kenya saga for showing so much wisdom in bringing the crisis in Kenya to an end.