EDITORIAL: It is still not too late to resolve poll row peacefully


Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and Raila Odinga should put their egos aside and place the country above their personal interests. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The hardline stances adopted by presidential candidates Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have cast a dark shadow over the country.

The failure to settle their political differences means that the country could be plunged into a deep crisis on October 26, the fresh presidential election date ordered by the Supreme Court.

There are already worrying signs of attacks on Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials in parts of Western Kenya.

If National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga’s supporters heed his call to stage countrywide demonstrations on election day, there will inevitably be bloodshed from confrontation with police.

Whatever the outcome of the election, Kenya will be left politically less stable than it was before the August 8 General Election.

The scenario could be anything from a long drawn-out conflict to a brief but brutal repression of dissent by the police.  This needed not have been the case. The political class has failed the country.

The brinkmanship adopted by the leaders and their advisors has bred politics of confrontation and hatred, rather than competitive rivalry.

The moment Uhuru and Raila felt too big to sit across the table to talk over their differences is when the country started on a slippery path.

The open attacks and internal divisions at the IEBC have not helped the situation. Neither have the attacks and alleged biases at the Supreme Court.

Every ticking second now is a slide towards a possible abyss, with deadly consequences on the security, economic and social stability of the country.

It is never too late, however, to reason together. Uhuru and Raila should put their egos aside and place the country above their personal interests.

Unlike them and their families, most Kenyans have never even owned passports that they could use to cross borders if the country explodes in flames like was the case in 2007.

Human rights groups contend that close to 100 Kenyans have died from political violence since 2008. Even a single extra loss of life would be one more too many. Each side should cede ground to give peace a chance.