Democratic candidate for US President, Barack Obama, has written an editorial in one of Kenya’s most prominent newspapers addressing the dire situation there, the catalyst for which were disputed elections that took place in late December. Obama, who has family ties to that African country, wrote that Kenya had reached a “defining moment” on its road to democratic consolidation. Here is a snippet and a link to the full text of the opinion piece.
Clearly, Kenya has reached a defining moment. It is up to Kenyan leaders and the Kenyan population to turn away from the path of bloodshed, division, and repression, and to turn towards reconciliation, negotiation, and renewed commitment to democratic governance. There is no doubt that there were serious flaws in the process by which presidential votes were tabulated. There is also no doubt that actions taken by both sides in the aftermath of the election have deepened the stalemate.
But Kenya’s hard-won democracy and precious national unity can be salvaged. Now is the time for all parties to renounce violence. And now is the time for President Kibaki, Raila Odinga, and all of Kenya’s leaders, to calm tensions, to come together unconditionally, and to implement a political process that peacefully addresses the controversies that divide them and restores the Kenyan people’s confidence in their political system.