Let's elect a president for all Kenyans

William Ruto and Raila Odinga

Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

It is once again the season of politics. Politicians seek to remain relevant in the next five years by positioning themselves to be part of the team that will form the next government.

This is evidenced by political alignments and realignments even as some politicians use their ethnic groups—the big ones with perceived kingpins—to bargain for a share of the pie. 

We have heard politicians say their communities must be in the next government and some specific positions have to be reserved for them. You can hear them purportedly speak for Kambas, Kikuyus, Luos, Luhyas and Kalenjins.

This sad state of affairs plays out in the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition party and the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

One of the presidential flag-bearers in these two coalitions will be elected president come August 9. There is no doubt about this. Assuming the demands of all the big communities are met, what then happens to less populous groups with less political muscle and bargain power?

Are they, too, going to be part of the government? Or are they going to be excluded because they did not bring in enough votes to the winning coalition? Must all communities sign pre-election pacts to benefit?

We are alive to the fact that marginalisation has been part of our past, hence the cause for concern.

Much as we want to protect our personal interests and allegedly those of our ethnic groups, let the next president be for everyone in the true sense of the word. Let no group of people be shunned on the grounds that they are a minority. Article 27 of the Constitution assures Kenyans of equal treatment. This should not only be said to be done, but must also be seen to be done by our successive governments.

The next president should cultivate diversity so that all of us must feel that we belong in Kenya in all spheres of life, including in the composition of government arms and agencies.

 Steve Mutinda, Advocate of the High Court, Machakos

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President Uhuru Kenyatta proved to be a true leader during the national prayer breakfast. He showed his wish for peace and unity to reign in our country when he welcomed Deputy President William Ruto’s forgiveness plea and wished the country a peaceful election and post-election period.

It’s now upon our leaders wishing to take over from him to emulate him and grant his wish by ensuring that they do peaceful campaigns and stop ethnic politics and hate speech in their rallies. They should sell their manifestos and agendas to the people, instead of calling each other names. Good politics and peaceful election campaigns will ensure that our country remains peaceful even after the August 9 polls.

Kelvin Kipkemboi, Nandi

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