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18.04.2008 Kenya

Kenya, please let it work!

By Accra Mail
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Yesterday Mr. Raila Odinga was officially sworn-in as prime minister of Kenya in a coalition cabinet.

Part of Mr Odinga's oath of office was to be "faithful to the president of the Republic of Kenya".

Yesterday's swearing-in ceremony was the culmination of a power-sharing deal with President Mwai Kibaki to end months of post-election violence in this African nation which was once considered beyond the African disease of political instability and ethnic blood-letting.

1,500 people died and over half a million people fled their homes since violence erupted last December after the disputed polls.

We hope with yesterday's swearing-in ceremony, Kenya has well and truly been pulled back from the brink. It is now left with the politicians to show that those 1,500 people who died did not die in vain.

The politicians now have to heal wounds, stimulate economic activity and put Kenya back to where it once belonged: a respected and respectable nation. Differences would no doubt occur in policy and other matters – since it is now a coalition government – but that would be no excuse to tear the country apart.

Kenya is in a unique position now to prove to Africa and the world that she has put the bad past behind her and is now on course to give meaning to the African renaissance Thabo Mbeki once talked about. Italy has changed governments, mostly coalition, over 60 times in about as many years, but the country has remained one of the world's most prosperous economic engines.

So what Kenya is now embarking on has been tried and tested elsewhere. In modern speak, we say the template is there; now Kenya simply has to click on the right icons and get the desired results. We wish Kibaki and Odinga well. They have no right to bring any more suffering to their people and embarrassment to Africa again.

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