Golden milestone within nation’s grasp

Thursday August 17 2017

A voter casts his ballot at Central Primary School polling centre

A voter casts his ballot at Central Primary School polling centre in Kitui Central on August 8, 2017. Kenyans turned out in large and orderly numbers, and waited for hours in some cases to cast their ballots. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Kenya has a golden milestone within its grasp.

It can show the world that it is maturing as a democracy or replicate the same old narrative that Africa and its leaders will fight at all costs, and to hell with the credibility of the electoral process.

Since election day, August 8, and the disputed results, Kenyans from all walks of life want to move on.

The campaign has been a long haul.


Kenyans turned out in large and orderly numbers, and waited for hours in some cases to cast their ballots.

They have trusted the electoral process, a battle in itself, but ultimately both the main political parties signed onto it, and agreed to the rules.

According to international monitors, the electoral commission has conducted itself professionally and credibly.

This, in a difficult period when their top election systems official was tortured and murdered days before the poll.

Jubilee Party candidate President Uhuru Kenyatta has been re-elected for a second term.

National Super Alliance (Nasa) flag-bearer Raila Odinga alleges this veneer of fairness is, in fact, foul, foggy and fishy.

He has alleged there were anomalies in tallying and has demanded that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) open its servers for inspection and verification amid his party’s hacking claims.

Based on Kenya’s electoral history of ballot manipulation, Nasa has a right to be apprehensive.


But so far Nasa has not provided a smoking gun. Kenya is at a crossroads and we have much to lose.

Remember Kenya is a growing and powerful country of entrepreneurs who understand the value of time.

We want to get on with it and close this chapter. 

There has to be a winner and a loser. The loser can take his argument to the Supreme Court.


A forward-leaning Constitution sets out the modalities of doing so.

The other option is an elegant concession, that will vault the loser to the status of a statesman.

What is not an option is inciting the street.

We no longer want or appreciate our leaders fuelling flames of ethnic discord.

There will be some in the Nasa camp who will take their grievances to the street.


There have been running fights between Nasa supporters and the security forces.

There has been loss of life. Experts say they will not have much impact and instead Nasa leaders will face the wrath of the majority of Kenyans. 

Do not take sporadic and dramatic video to represent the sentiment within the country.

We are one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenya has faster Internet service than some parts of the US.

We are building superhighways, and other infrastructure, and we have one of the largest ports in Africa.


We have led the world in the mobile money space. We have a creative, dynamic youth.

We are open for business, and it’s this interest by Kenyans and the world that will ultimately prevent any repetition of previous electoral violence.

This is a new Kenya. A new generation, a youthful one, that is inching towards transcending tribal loyalties and is united in its nationalistic endeavours.   

Mr Odinga may have lost this election. But do not forget what he has done for Kenya.


He has fought for human rights and democracy, and has endured torture, exile, and  detention. He deserves respect.

This was his last shot at the presidency.

Perhaps he wanted to make his own father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s lost chance his final fulfilment.

Perhaps it was not to be. Kenyans have spoken and, days after this election, their message is: Kenya First!

Ms Verjee, a former CNN anchor and State Department correspondent, is the co-founder & CEO of aKoma Media, an e-content and digital media network for African content creators, brands and audiences: