I have every reason to smile. We have a new government in place and Kenyans maintained peace throughout the period we awaited the decision of the Supreme court and when it was delivered even those who lost accepted the verdict.
Kenyans went on to act maturely as President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were sworn in at a colourful ceremony at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani attended by many African heads of state and other dignitaries from around the world.
This was my proudest moment as a Kenyan. Seeing former president Mwai Kibaki, with measured steps, inspect his last guard of honour and hand over power to young and energetic Uhuru Kenyatta, watched by former president Daniel arap Moi and African leaders as old as Robert Mugabe and young as Joseph Kabila made me realise that our young democracy is truly shaping up. We must be proud that old men are exiting the stage for the younger generation and this, hopefully, will prick the conscience of those African leaders who have refused to hand over the baton.
That we can no longer have a president in this country hang onto power until his last breath is something to be proud of. That we can conduct a peaceful election despite doomsday predictions and travel warnings from our detractors, and when we don’t agree with the results move to court and abide by it’s decision, is something we need to congratulate ourselves for regardless of who we voted for. This peaceful election was a win for our country and not just for the Jubilee Coalition.
And now to you president Uhuru and your deputy… You are two young (my children laugh at the reference of these two as ‘young’) men whom we have entrusted with power and Kenyans are looking up to you to eradicate the evils that have bedeviled our country since independence, to make it a better place for all of us. As for my generation – those born in the fifties – we missed representation in the highest office by one of our own because old men hang on to power for so long. But today we are not complaining because we have lived to see the generation next to ours – those born in the sixties – take over power, and if we are lucky and God blesses us, we shall live to see our children’s generation of the 80s rule this country one day.
Things can only get better.
But while we celebrate you Mr. President, those over six million people who voted for you and the thousands who cheered you wildly at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani will be watching to see that you live to the promises you made to them during your campaigns and which you have clearly elaborated in your manifesto. Indeed, all of the 40 million Kenyans are waiting with bated breath to see how your leadership will be. If my advice is worth anything, please remove your vote-seeking blinkers and re-look at your manifesto and campaign promises and set your priorities right to ensure you deliver in the most practical, sustainable and beneficial way to the country.
I, for one, have no doubt you will deliver but you will need God’s blessings and Solomonic wisdom to do so. You will need to surround yourself with people, who, like you and your deputy, have the best interests of this country at heart.
You will need to make decisions that will further your agenda for this country including economic growth and vision 2030, youth empowerment and job creation, corruption and accountability, equal access to resources and gender parity, security and tribalism… This list is so long that, I’m afraid, Mr. President your hair will be grey by the end of your term.
Detractors will be many, Mr. President, and those who want to benefit themselves and their families will try to wiggle their way into your administration. You must resist these evil powers and be resolute about what you want to achieve for the country and the vehicle you want to use. Remember five years is not a long time. Only put people in positions of leadership if they are willing to serve wholeheartedly, are able and of high integrity. And, like we do in the corporate world, ensure they go through regular performance reviews.
You may have good intentions, Mr. President, but if those around you don’t, your efforts will come to a cropper and those cheering crowds at the stadium will crucify you in 2017.
You have repeatedly said you hold family values in high regard. Open your eyes wide and you will see how families have disintegrated in our country. Divorce is rampant, values and moral standards have taken a nosedive, and a generation is getting lost in drugs, alcohol and HIV/Aids. Your government will require a holistic approach to address the myriad of problems facing families in this country. You and your deputy must be the best examples of family, not by show or just being seen in church, but in words and deeds. We hope your spouses will support you in this endeavor to promote family values. I pray that the first lady, Margaret Kenyatta, can choose to promote a family related project as her priority for the next five years, as we desperately need a role model to help bring back order and pride to families.
Mr. President, mine is to wish you well as you start this arduous journey. It is my prayer that all Kenyans will join hands in supporting you and that each one of us will play our different roles to ensure this country moves forward. We have made so much progress under the new constitution that under your leadership things can only get better.
Do the right thing and you will leave a legacy, just like your father did. Good luck as you occupy your father’s old office.