For me, two heroes emerge: Samuel Kivuitu and Major Gen. Hussein Ali. One held the country together from the 27th to the 30th, and the second has been holding the country together since the 29th.
Electoral Commission of Kenya Chair Samuel Kivuitu said today he was very torn about announcing the results. Four of his commissioners came forth yesterday to dispute the election results. Throughout the waiting period he kept giving press conferences where he was clearly disgusted and disturbed by the fact that his returning officers especially in central province had switched off their phones and could not be reached. The man was betrayed and I feel so so badly for him. He said today that he wanted to resign during the process but decided not to for the sake of the country. I really appreciate the tough choice he faced and the decision he made. He knew there were rotten apples on his team that were rigging elections but he did not have enough time to find out who and how.
Had he taken the time to do a re-count the delayed polls would have led to many more deaths. People were already killing each other because they didn’t know who had won. So his options were either to resign or to announce the results even though he knew they were faulty.
Had he resigned both Raila and Kibaki would each have declared themselves winners and taken to the streets. In the absence of legit and legal authority, the country would have been plunged into chaos and the military would have been free to choose who to back. God forbid if they would have split. Civil war. Its Africa’s story.
Hence Kivuitu is Kenya’s hero. He chose to give the country a president and to trust the institutions of the courts to sort the rest out. Kibaki’s term would have legally expired at midnight on the 30th. Without Kivuitu’s actions, on the 31st we would have been a country without a president. That is why the results were hastily announced and Kibaki sworn in within the hour and at sunset. By acting decisively Kivuitu at least gave us a state. A broken state, but at least we are not Somalia. For that, he is my personal hero and if anyone knows how I can get a hold of him, let me know coz I have a thank you card to send him. (ps. However much the man gets paid, it needs to be doubled)
My second hero is Major Gen. Hussein Ali. I have a crush on him (its o.k. my husband knows about it J. It all started when I saw him interviewed earlier this year about the Matheri case and the increased insecurity earlier in the year. He came off as intelligent, articulate, and a man with a plan for how to improve the security situation in the country. When KTN and Standard got invaded they had to plan it when he was out of the country because they knew it wouldn’t have flown with him.
General Ali has really held the country together since the violence erupted. Yes around 150 people have died during riots and police confrontations around the country. But, the media has shown pictures of what those confrontations have looked like and the police have shown incredible and unprecedented restraint in their handling of the rioters. If this was the Moi days, there would be no-one left to riot. Ali has had his officers exercise restraint. He has not gone overboard as he could have under the circumstances. For that, he too is my hero. He seems to be the kind of professional who would do his job regardless of who had been sworn in.
Kenya needs leaders like these two men. If only Kibaki and Raila would rise to the occasion.
I have a bit of hope for Kalonzo if he stays on path he is on now and does not sell out to join the PNU government. He was the one presidential candidate that seemed to be guided by principle in the midst of all this. But alas, no announcement has been made yet and he is the only Kenyan leader I have personally heard speak out against ethnic cleansing so perhaps there is still hope…..