Saitoti death: Will peace messages from politicians last?
The death of Kenya’s Internal Security minister George Saitoti and his deputy Orwa Ojode in a horror helicopter crash on June 10 has brought out the best in our politicians. For the last one week Kenyans have seen a unity of purpose amongst political class never seen before. And the prayers on the lips of most of us is that may the peace prevail as we head to the elections in 2013.
But the sad thing is that Kenyans will be heartbroken by these politicians again. The death of two colleagues who have been praised for transcending the tribal barrier not with standing. Saitoti and Ojode were two of a kind. They ran the ministry so well it was sometimes difficult to know who was the minister, the fact that one was from PNU and the other from ODM was not an issue to them.
During Saitoti’s burial on Saturday at his Kitengela home all the presidential aspirants led by PM Raila Odinga,Uhuru Kenyatta,Musalia Mudavadi,William Ruto,Kalonzo Musyoka amongst others tried to out shine each other on who was more closer to the fallen leaders. And they all praised the two as peace lovers.
Uhuru Kenyatta went a notch higher and declared that he was ready to sacrifice his political ambition for the sake of peace in honor of Saitoti and Ojode.
But when Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki stood up to speak he was sterner about the politicians whom he told to walk the talk. “We have said so many good things about these two people,why cant we do as they did,” Kibaki challenged the leaders during Saitoti’s burial.
And yesterday, The president was at it again.He seemed to love three speeches most during Orwa Ojode’s funeral at his Ndhiwa home. The speeches by Ojode’s son Andy and her mother Mary touched the president so much that he later told all Kenyans to follow those good words by the two. Another speech the president seemed to enjoy was of Lands minister James Orengo.
Orengo pulled of the gloves and attacked the MPs who had come in droves to bury one of their own and told them to walk the talk. He told them that he was aware of the character of politicians who pretend during funerals but go back to their old bad politics after the funeral. Ojode’s wife and son had earlier beseeched the people of Ndhiwa to elect a leader like Ojode who will transcend the tribal barrier.
Even before the death of the two,the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga had told politicians to attend political rallies together to create a peaceful atmosphere during the campaigns. The CJ made the call during a peace conference in Mombasa that Saitoti made his now famous speech calling for peace during elections. It was the last speech he made before he met his death a day later in a chopper crash.
But can politicians act in peace and even hold joint rallies together? Can any of the presidential contenders surrender their tribal ambitions for another leader from a different region? Can Uhuru Kenyatta for example walk the talk and surrender his ambition and support another leader from a different region? I have my doubts.
I tend to agree with Orengo that we Kenyans are very good when it comes to funerals and weddings. It is only then that we are united. It is only in grief that we are truly Kenyan. But then we go back to our fist fights. I bet by Sunday,seven Days after the burial of the two heroes politicians will be on each other’s neck pouring tribal vitriol and calling each others names. We have not seen the last of vitendawilis,Pelle and Messi matches ,derogatory words like Kihii and other selfish fights to win the elections. By then Saitoti and Ojode will be forgotten only remained by close relatives.