Raila is playing dangerous games with the presidency

Raila is playing dangerous games with the presidency

A nation that cherishes its sovereignty does not play juvenile games with the Presidency. No institution trumps the presidency in terms of being the glue that holds a nation together.

As the ultimate custodian of the sovereign will of the people, the office of the president must at all times be accorded the honour, respect and dignity it deserves. This will only happen when the holder of the office is held in high regard by all and sundry who value our independence which was attained through sweat, blood and tears of our valiant heroes and heroines.

We may have differences emanating from our varied and conflicting perceptions of politics. The elections may have underlined our diverse contrasts and even put contending political forces on a bitter collision course. However, we must never lose sight of how far we have come as a nation. Our democracy is one of the most vibrant in the region. Our economy is a powerhouse in Africa. Our country is one of the admired innovation hubs in the world. Thanks to our peace and tranquility, we occupy a pride of place among the civilised community of nations.

These milestones have not come on a silver platter. They are a consequent of our adherence to the rule of law and our unremitting desire for an inclusive and egalitarian society. Kenyans are also reaping the benefits of their restless search for ingenious ways to reform and embolden our institutions of governance. Any nation that has made remarkable strides in development, did so after setting up and nurturing solid institutions.

The Supreme Court ruling has just demonstrated to the world that our institutions are not only functional but thriving. After President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win was nullified by the courts, he was quick to say that although he did not agree with the verdict, he respected it and thus was ready to hit the campaign trail once more to hunt for votes for the repeat election.

How many countries can do such a thing in this part of the world? How many incumbent presidents in Africa can countenance a court nullifying their election, let alone going along with such a decision?

The court’s decision, despite its woeful shortcomings, has been understandably acclaimed worldwide because it is a first in Africa. But it is also a fundamental first in another respect; that an incumbent African president wielding the levers and instruments of power bowed to the supremacy of the constitution. A dictator would have repudiated the judgment without batting an eyelid, torn it into pieces and thrown it into the dustbin with the argument that it is not within the court’s domain to trample upon the sovereign will of the people in such a pedestrian manner. But Uhuru is a democrat who believes in the established constitutional institutions.

It’s therefore appalling that while the President has conducted himself in a manner that befits the dignity and the importance of the position he holds, the opposition has been busy denigrating this sacred office by hurling unpalatable insults at him. Raila has blackmailed, harangued and threatened the president as if all Jubilee’s million plus votes were stolen. We are treading on a dangerous ground when we start discounting the significance of the Presidency as a force for unity.

Raila’s thoughtless actions do not augur well for the nation’s harmony bearing in mind that the president has in his side millions of supporters who overwhelmingly voted for him in the August 8 polls. Obviously, these supporters, who woke up in the morning and braved long queues to vote for him will feel insulted.

Nasa is also totally misguided to interpret the Supreme Court ruling to mean that Uhuru lost and Raila won. Nothing can be further from the truth. The court faulted the transmissions of the votes and not the results. The opposition’s expansive confidence is therefore unfounded to say the least. If I were Raila’s advisor, I would urge him to be circumspect in his outbursts taking into account the cold reality that the electoral figures as projected by the composition of Parliament and the number of Jubilee Party governors do not favour him.

What is even more unnerving is that Raila has started a sinister campaign to push the president out of office by unconstitutional means. He has consistently asserted that should the repeat polls not held within the 60 days as stipulated by the constitution, then Uhuru should vacate office to pave way for a caretaker government. This is scary stuff. Why envisage such an ugly scenario for our country if you are not plotting a vile move?

This strongly suggests that Nasa will do anything to ensure that the repeat polls do not happen as scheduled. While such an outcome will mean Raila remains politically relevant, it will have disastrous ramifications for Kenyans. Already apprehension hangs thickly in the air. Lives have been disrupted, development has slowed down and the economy has suffered immensely. Only an election on October will set the country on the path of normalcy. But before that Uhuru should never even think of budging an inch from that seat. The constitution and history are on his side.

By Martha Wangari MP Gilgil

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