President Obama waged his campaign for re-election against heavy odds. Not only was he pitted against a formidable opponent, he also had to ward off ceaseless attempts by the Republican conservative fringe to depict him as a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist who had no right to American citizenship, let alone the White House.
But he fought smart and bested the Birthers, cranks and all other mediocrities. And in all that time, no American took up a machete and started hacking at his neighbour over political differences.
That is why, when President Obama sends a message to Kenyans who are about to enter a closely-fought election, everyone ought to sit up and pay attention.
In the message, he urges Kenyans to “reject intimidation and violence, and allow a free and fair vote”, and to “resolve disputes in the courts and not in the streets”.
He knows what he is talking about. What happened five years ago after a disputed election cost this country’s image a great deal, and it should never be forgotten or repeated.
But are our power-hungry politicians ready to listen? Are Kenyans paying attention to the warnings delivered by our international friends?
For all our sake, let us hope they are.