We have been through some very difficult moments as a country. Two presidential elections in less than four months, chaotic, often bloody protests, endless and often heated political debates, deaths of innocent children shot as they played, the demise of electoral officials, extreme hate and intolerance of each other and then an inauguration.
All that happened in just one year. This has been one of the toughest, yet historic years, and we have come out of one of the most difficult periods we have had to endure.
We have been hurt. We are wounded. We are politically fatigued. Our minds are saturated with politics and all we talk about is politics, politics, politics.
Some of us have lost sorely. We have cried, sighed and heaved in pain. Some are nursing disappointments, heartbreak and others struggling with depression because their sacrifice went unrewarded. Others are dealing with snuffed hopes of expected government jobs, contracts and tenders, having invested a lot of money in politicians who lost bitterly.
A good number have lost their political careers and are wondering what to do next. Some among us are politicians who spent a tidy sum during the campaigns, lost the elections and are now staring at massive debt.
Businesses have come to a standstill, some have closed entirely. Others have had their businesses burned down, looted and brought to their knees.
CALL FOR TRUCE
Cars have been stoned, goods stolen. Others have had their homes and farms robbed. Some parents, most painfully, have lost their children.
Friendships have suffered because of politics and politicians. We have lost good friends, because we disagreed politically. We have insulted each other, ridiculed each other’s loss and hurt each other deeply because of politics.
We have spent copious amounts of time in front of the television, following live proceedings of endless, sometimes dramatic press conferences, political rallies, protests, elections, vote tallying, political analyses and news. The country has largely been chaotic, we have been afraid to travel and drive around freely because you never know when you might run into a protesters.
If you think about it, we have spent very little time working because we have been preoccupied with politics. Projects have stalled in the face of uncertainty.
Businesses have suffered untold losses. Kenyans running businesses are going to struggle to offer their children a good Christmas because very little has been achieved this year.
At a societal level, Kenyans have been divided along party lines. We no longer talk to each other like we used to because we have shown each other our ugly sides. Venomous claws have come out and we simply no longer trust each other. And that is very dangerous.
This is why today I want us to call a truce.
JOURNEY OF HEALING
After all is said and done, I think I speak for many Kenyans when I say it is time to put all these behind us. It is time to begin the long and difficult journey of healing. It is time to stop this madness, take a deep breath, fill our lungs with clean air and move on as a country.
Let us accept that the season of politics is over and done with. It is now time to build the nation, mend fences and fix broken walls. Time has come for us to go back to our businesses, revive those projects that we hurriedly left unfinished in late July and begin to make some progress as a nation.
It is time to switch off the television sets, avoid the political chatter and get our bodies and minds to work. It is also the time to stop insulting each other on social media, get off social media and get some real work done.
It is time to be quiet, to reflect over the past year and most importantly, apologise to your neighbour. Invite them over for a drink or mbuzi, look them in the eye and tell them, “forget politics, you are still my neighbour”.
I know some of us thrive in the chaos of politics. I am aware that there are some relentless, indefatigable political fanatics who want to keep on and on. Don’t engage them. Let them stay in their echo chambers.
It is time to restore our broken souls. To allow the balm of peace to heal those cuts our hearts have endured throughout these hectic and trying months. It is also time to forgive those who hurt us and those that ridiculed us.
Politicians have moved on. It is time we moved on too.