Achebe hit the nail on the head when he said that the trouble with Nigeria (and by extension Africa) was simply and squarely one of leadership. Nowhere else in the world has leadership failed the people more than on the continent of Africa. African leaders, whether dictators or otherwise, have proven to be the most inept and ideologically bankrupt lot the world has ever known.
The unfolding situation in Kenya is a glaring example of leadership that is devoid of any consideration for the common man. There is an East African proverb that says ‘when two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.’ This proverb couldn’t be closer to the truth. It is the poor Kenyans living in slums and rural areas that are suffering and dying while the upper class watch the grim situation on international tv stations from the safety of their well protected homes.
Kibaki and Raila, the two men at the centre of the disputed elections, should act like the statesmen they claim to be and resolve the dispute as soon as possible in order to avert further loss of life and property. Estimates indicate that the Kenyan economy is losing billions of shillings everyday due to the violence and looting that is being witnessed nearly all over the country. These two men should stop playing around with the lives of 37 million Kenyans by being conceited and unidimensional in their quest for power.
The elections had irregularities, no doubt about that. But is this the best way of dealing with it? Did more than 200 Kenyans have to die just because Kibaki and Raila cannot down size their egos and come to a compromise? Do these two men realise that Kenya will still be around even after they are both dead and buried?
As many Kenyan politicians have been quick to point out, the country is more important than individuals. Kibaki and Raila should realise this if Kenya is to be Kenya – a country that has remained peaceful and democratic even as most of its neighbors were up in flames or under the yoke of dictatorships.