Kenya is moving towards the March 4th 2013 elections. Until Monday night when we had the first-ever Presidential debate, tensions seemed to be building up. However, something happened during the debate that apparently eased major pressures all over the country.
So what actually eased these tensions? A few months ago we were treated to a debate between two gentlemen vying for a position at the White House. As I remember well, it was more of a contest of emotions and the inflicting of pain. Not so with the Kenyan debate. This was civil and quite pleasant to watch. Yet there were serious issues to be handled, including the one termed as ‘the elephant.’
“The newspaper announcement for this debate showed an elephant standing behind all of you” started Linnus Kakai, one of the moderators. “And we all know that elephant’s name: the issue of ICC.” Looking at Uhuru Kenyatta (one of those to stand trial for crimes against humanity in Kenya’s post-election violence), he asked, “How do you plan to be the President of Kenya with this case over your head?”
I was amazed at how clearly Uhuru responded to the question, as well as the rebuttals from the other candidates. Other controversial questions including many about tribalism were likewise answered openly by all. The accusations and complaints of many Kenyans were articulated and addressed, one after the other.
I learned quite a lot.
- When dealing with a national crisis, it is best to bring the pertinent issues out in the open.
- The best people to address these issues are the ones directly perceived to be involved.
- Acknowledging issues and responding to them in a redemptive way brings healing, not just to those directly involved but also to others listening in. Tension, anger and bitterness are alleviated.
I believe this applies not only regarding national issues, but also on personal and local levels.
So wherever we are, let us bring our ‘elephants’ out of the closet and face them squarely. Maybe – probably – they will just walk back into the pasture or the zoo where they belong!