Wednesday, July 28, 2010

President Kibaki and his Predecessor should be role models

President Kibaki and his Predecessor should be role models
By Joseph Lister Nyaringo,
New Jersey USA
While President Kibaki and his predecessor are exercising the beauty of our democracy in the current referendum debate, personal attacks does not augur well for the Country.
They are expected to exhibit decorum and statesmanship that the new generation should emulate.
Former President Moi has a right to take a position in the coming referendum over the proposed constitution but the aggressiveness he has exhibited in campaigning for its rejection has bee characterized by rancor, propaganda, falsehoods and misinterpretations of clauses.
It’s very rare for a retired President to openly pick a quarrel or throw words at a sitting president and vice versa but the latest between former President Moi and his successor has taken many Kenyans by surprise.
It’s imperative for the two leaders to remain as pillars of social harmony and role models. Our Country is still fragile following the 2008 tragedy. The peace we currently enjoy is likely to be put in jeopardy when two respected elders are openly washing their dirty linen in public.
Coming from a province which was the hot bed of the post election violence and where majority of the people are against the proposed constitution, Moi and Kibaki’s disagreements does not help to cement the peace that the multi-ethnic province desperately craves for.
Both leaders being in opposing camps, this might spill over to catalyse a collision between members of the public in the Rift Valley who are for and against the proposed law.
In Western democracies, most former presidents do not directly criticize their predecessors. When they do, it’s so veiled and usually touches on their party policies, or campaigning for party candidates.
The best example is the recent passage of the healthcare legislation by the Obama administration which sparked heavy criticism from the Republican Party, but not a single day did former President W. Bush come out to criticize his successor, President Obama.
In our Continent, we have never heard Benjamin Mkapa, Tabo Mbeki, or John Kufuor directly criticize their successors. In fact, despite the acrimonious debate that culminated to Tabo Mbeki’s exit from the ANC party leadership and South African presidency, the former president has kept his cool and given Jacob Tsuma the chance to lead the rainbow nation.
The die is cast and Kenyans must look far a head and choose between what is right and discard what is undesirable. I leave them to judge for themselves whom between the current President and his predecessor his standing for our national good or doom.
The beauty of our democracy should be exercised with caution so that we can build a united Country for posterity. Freedom can build or wreck a nation but when applied wisely to spread what is desirable, truthful and beneficial to the governed, it will go a long way to cement peace and tranquility in any society.
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