I watched the drama that played out recently during the burial in Kisii. This showed that the politicians had not learned any lesson. The plea by religious leaders on them to keep off politics at the funerals would once again fall on deaf ears.
Hell broke loose when an ODM MP Simba Arati asked Deputy President William Ruto to apologize to the Abagusii community for the atrocities they suffered during the 2007 post-election violence.
Dozens of our people lost their lives and others became refugees in their own country. The properties and parcels of land owned by those who fled to IDP camps were forcibly taken away. The DP’s home turf of Rift Valley was the epicenter and the MP would remind him that his name had been linked to the violence. Notably, the DP was among six Kenyans who faced charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court [ICC] in The Hague.
MP Silvanus Osoro, a key ally of DP, would not take the attacks directed at his boss anymore. While seething in anger, he left his seat and moved to the podium. The two MPs would briefly exchange blows as Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga watched.
In their speeches, the latter two strongly condemned this incident and called for tolerance among leaders. This was expected bearing in mind each of the MP belonged to their respective camps.
As Arati observed, Ruto and Raila were in the same camp during the 2007 post-election violence. As the leading players of the Orange Democratic [ODM] party, they believed their party had won the presidential election.
But today, things have changed. The two are bitter rivals. This brings me to the question. Were they speaking from the bottom of their hearts? It is hard to tell.
But for the DP, many believed he did not take lightly Arati’s remarks. They cited his previous reactions when such matters were revisited. He has been taking head-on those capitalizing on his alleged dark past to portray him as a leader who cannot be entrusted with national leadership. For instance, we remember how he hit out at the head of DCI for trying to help the victims of 2007 PEV to pursue restorative justice.
The DP’s allies would take the cue. The DCI is treading on dangerous ground. Reviving these cases is tantamount to “reopening old wounds”. Media reports indicated the DCI’s move had been triggered by reports of the new threats issued to the communities that had been targeted.
We know the lands and properties forcibly taken from the victims were never returned. Would you call this genuine national healing and reconciliation?
Well, a section of Kenyans has been criticizing Arati’s remarks. This is not because he lied but because that was not the right forum.
Allow me to say this. Elected leaders are supposed to serve as role models and uphold high moral standing. So, one would not have expected the two MPs to wash their dirty linen in public.
Yes, MP Osoro was the aggrieved person and he was ready to take the bullet for the DP. He should have restrained himself. Engaging in fistfights cannot solve anything. A politician worth salt ought to use the talent of speaking to defend their bosses.