New year resolutions that ‘Big Two’ Uhuru, Raila should make

Tuesday January 2 2018

New Year fete

People photograph fireworks as they celebrating New Year's on January 1, 2018, during the New Year's music event at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi. PHOTO | YASUYOSHI CHIBA | AFP 

By Macharia Gaitho
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Happy New Year everyone! But the reality is that a new year means nothing more than a new wall calendar or desk diary.

The baggage of last year cannot be wished away. All of us will continue to be sucked into the power struggles which bring out our worst traits as an atavistic people driven by ethnic instincts.

We can start be recognising that the future of Kenya lies in our hands. I will do my part by dictating new year resolutions for each of the two principal protagonists.

Uhuru Kenyatta: I won the presidential elections fair and square but I know there is a large constituency out there that believes it was cheated.

My new year resolution is to embark on whatever it takes to ensure a solid and lasting legacy. This can only be built on a peaceful, stable, united and prosperous nation.


All efforts will be futile unless I address the fears and resentments of Mr Odinga and his restless supporters, and all other citizens who suffer exclusion and marginalisation.

This means addressing not just the immediate political impasse but going further to seek lasting solutions to the grievances that guarantee the threat of violence with every electoral cycle.

It is, therefore, not just about the 2017 elections but, more critically, it’s about forestalling violence at the next polls in 2022 and beyond.

I will not be seeking re-election; so, I can safely disentangle myself from the chokehold of hardliners within my own ranks.

As a man of my word, I remain committed to the solemn pledge to support my Deputy President William Ruto in his 2022 presidential bid.


Mr Ruto’s campaign will best be served by Jubilee building a shared prosperity for everyone rather than by continuing the politics of vendetta, police brutality and rapacious looting.

I will support Mr Ruto’s bid but my community’s allegiance to the power-sharing and succession pact must be earned, not enforced by blackmail and fear that failure to vote for him will attract retribution in the form of the violent ethnic cleansing that so mars Rift Valley politics.

All the more reason why historical grievances and resentments must be urgently addressed now rather than when it is too late.

Raila Odinga: I was cheated of electoral victory for the third time but I know there is a large constituency out there that believes they won fair and square.

Still, my new year resolution remains to remain focused and unyielding in the fight for electoral justice and a just society.

Even as we continue to demand what we believe was stolen from us by a compromised electoral system, we would be foolish to believe that the numbers we are trotting out to buttress our victory claims will be taken seriously.


We would also be naïve to expect that our plan to have me and my running mate Kalonzo Musyoka sworn in as president and deputy president, respectively, will in any way enforce a transfer of power.

As we continue to mount pressure on Mr Kenyatta’s administration, we must, therefore, advance our campaign beyond the immediate electoral dispute and re-focus on what is necessary to guarantee the National Super Alliance an even chance at the next polls in 2022.

This must, therefore, not just be a Nasa campaign for electoral justice but a people’s campaign to ensure that all the lingering issues we have in the past preferred to sweep under the carpet are addressed with finality.

Reform of the political and electoral systems will be just one plank of a broader campaign towards societal transformation.


We want to create a country where all the people are bound together by a shared prosperity and equal rights and opportunities for all to attain their dreams and aspirations.

I fully intend to honour my solemn pledge to hand over the baton after the 2017 elections. My focus, therefore, must also shift to building a resilient and united Nasa that will be prepared for the 2022 elections under Mr Musyoka, Mr Musalia Mudavadi or any other claimant.

We must also re-engineer Nasa so that it moves from the politics of confrontation to the politics of persuasion. That is how we will extend our catchment from the present bastions to regions that view us with fear.

 Email: [email protected]Twitter: @MachariaGaitho