Uhuru, Raila must sit down and resolve row

Friday February 2 2018

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President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga cannot pretend that all is well.

Tension is building up and it is just but a matter of time before it explodes.

All this is because we have not resolved the political question.

Unfortunately, the two political leaders are digging in, oblivious of the treacherous path the country is straddling.


European Union, America and African Union have expressed concerns over the deteriorating security situation and rising social unrest.

These are not idle statements. Prudence demands that civil leaders listen, reflect and retreat when independent voices speak.

At any rate, the issues are too obvious and do not require external intervention.

Mr Odinga, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) chief, ignited the fires with his controversial 'swearing-in' as People’s President early this week.

Other than the symbolic value, the oath does not mean anything.


Mr Odinga’s status has not changed, neither does he command State power.

Subsequent events have been precipitous.

First, the government plugged off three television stations — NTV, Citizen and KTN — allegedly for live broadcast of the oathing ceremony.

Five days later, the stations have not been reopened despite express court order.

And on Friday, President Kenyatta added fire to the fuel when he threw out journalists covering his function, an affirmation that the administration has no time for free press.


A government that harasses, coerces and shuts down the media has serious democracy deficits.

Second, the government has embarked on a crack down on Opposition leaders, and already two have been charged in court over the oathing.

It has also withdrawn security guards from several Opposition MPs in what is clearly a game of intimidation.

All these depict a country at a crossroads.

As we have said before, the challenges facing the country are political and therefore must be tackled politically.

There is some level of recklessness that is appalling.

It is absurd that Mr Odinga and his coalition members have chosen the path of confrontation to resolve what are perfectly legitimate concerns.

But the government’s reaction is equally revolting.

We are sitting on a time bomb, the political leaders must back down and resolve the impasse.