Friday, January 4, 2008

Kivuitu must be held accountable for pushing Kenya over the ledge

As any fool can plainly see, and everyone is in agreement, Kivuitu's star-crossed pronouncement, proclaiming Kibaki to have won the election when all evidence and common sense was to the contrary, was the final straw that broke Kenya's back, plunging a country already teetering on the precipice of political anarchy into what some overly-zealous government factotums have variously described as "ethnic cleansing" and even "genocide".

How else would one describe the scores of cadavers, some say hundreds, lying in mortuaries around the country, but mostly in ODM strongholds, "guarded" 24 hours by a tight police cordon because, ostensibly, they are riddled with police bullets? How would one describe the state-sponsored violence that has afforded the residents of Kuresoi not one night of rest for the entire period of the last two years? And how would one describe the reign of terror and famous beheadings by the feared Mungiki, who have afforded Kenya not a minute of respite for the entire period of the last 10 years? But I digress...

Granted, his best days are behind him, and making that fateful utterance under duress notwithstanding, Samuel Kivuitu is a seasoned lawyer - he won the Juror of the Year Award for 2007 - and surely understands, probably more than most, that ignorance is no defence. Why, and in what capacity, then, did he turn up at State House, smack in the middle of vote counting, only to be "kidnapped" and "forced" to read results that, in his own admission, are beneath contempt and now no longer tenable? It is amusing to read his account of the escapade, how he was "shocked" to find everyone seated and ready for Kibaki's swearing in; how all the ducks were already in a row on his arrival, the only missing ingredient being his curious announcement.

His career now lies in tatters, a career he has painstakingly built over the years, more so during his day in the sunshine as the chairman of the ECK, and it is a minor relief that he is leaving. But before he steps aside, Kivuitu owes Kenyans a comprehensive elucidation of events and his role in the whole debacle, including voter registration and the glaring irregularities witnessed in the voters' roll. The time for his pithy sound bites and terse jokes has long passed and no one is finding him funny any more, least of all the innocent Kenyans whose only mistake was to vote with their conscience, but have ended up bearing the brunt of his thoughtless edict. He has squandered his goodwill and the only course now available for him to run is to admit that he is directly responsible for the crisis and carnage that is currently engulfing the nation, and do penance for his hasty words. Only then will Kenyans be able to take the decision to forgive him. Or not.

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