Tuesday’s swearing-in of President Uhuru Kenyatta was a significant turning point in our electoral process.
In all democracies, the ceremony is supposed to a proud moment for all citizens. It confirms the transfer of power in an orderly and civilised manner.
To that end, Kenyans deserve praise for upholding this cardinal tradition.
We live in a continent bedevilled by civil strife. Most governments are either products of military coups or pseudo-democracy. As President Kenyatta takes office, it should signal the beginning of fixing the issues that divided the nation and led to an election boycott by a significant section of Kenyans.
To assume that all is well and ask Kenyans to “move on” would be very dangerous. It is incumbent upon the President, knowing the history of this country, to think deeply about addressing Agenda 4 items, which were also outlined in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report.
First is marginalisation along ethnic lines. The President should avoid the temptation of favouring members of the communities that mostly supported him in the election and re-election. State appointments must, in addition to merit, reflect the face of Kenya.
Second, the emotive land issue, especially in the Coast and Rift Valley regions.
The squatter problem is a time bomb that must be defused urgently. To gloss over such a weighty issue is to miss the point. The President must do the right thing by righting the wrong.
Third, youth unemployment, which is at crisis levels. With an estimated unemployment of over 40 per cent, Kenya’s joblessness should concern all. Violent crime driven by radicalisation and idle youth makes job creation a priority agenda.
Fourth, high-level corruption is robbing Kenyans of opportunities. Kenya should, ideally, be in the league of developed nations but for haemorrhage of public resources.
The President has a duty to bring down the endemic graft to guarantee faster development.
Fifth, a review of the 2010 Constitution is crucial. As currently designed, it creates a dangerous scenario of winner-takes-it-all during elections. Such a sense of siege is bad for national stability.
The President will have done the nation a great favour if he led the review. President Mwai Kibaki gave us a new Constitution; his successor should fix its inherent flaws.
Sixth, electoral justice is a matter of concern to many. Kenya has become the land of election disputes.
Elections are moments of monumental national shame. As the father of the nation, and being on his final term, President Kenyatta is the best-placed person to spearhead the constitutional review.
Lastly, the President should bring down the cost of living. Prices of basic commodities are beyond the reach of most ordinary Kenyans.
Wananchi are looking to relief. Let the State move quickly and tame the skyrocketing cost of living.
BENARD AMAYA, Nairobi.