Kenyan judges only reminded us of the bigger picture

A new cabinet line up was announced and sworn in Rwanda as per the requirements of the constitution. Many were surprised that the new Prime Minister was a face they were not familiar with.

A new cabinet line up was announced and sworn in Rwanda as per the requirements of the constitution. Many were surprised that the new Prime Minister was a face they were not familiar with. Others even pointed how young he is at only 44 almost making me look up the definition of young in the dictionary. There was a moment of anxiety as Rwandans on Twitter sought to find his real Twitter account. This alone says a lot about the society we now have in Rwanda. The expectations we have of our leaders like being digital savvy. 

Another interesting though not surprising observation was inclusion of more women in the cabinet than ever before. The government under President Paul Kagame has always championed the participation of women in governance matters. The whole process of appointing and swearing in a new cabinet starting with the prime minister, done within a particular time frame shows that the election doesn’t end with casting of the ballot. It is a process and not an event.


It is this idea that had many people confused about the judgement by the Kenyan Supreme Court on the recently held election in Kenya. In the eyes of most people the election is just that bit of picking a ballot, ticking besides the candidate of choice and then waiting for the announcement of the winner.


However a general election is a process not an event. It is a process that includes nomination of candidates, civic education, procurement and other preparatory procedures by the electoral body, voting, tallying of votes, transmission of results, announcement of winners, and so much more in terms of how government functions during and after this whole process.


The judges in Kenya basically ruled that the election was not conducted according to the law and was therefore null and void. The main source of contention was the failure intended or not by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to transmit results as prescribed by the laws governing the election process. In other words, IEBC has been given a chance to conduct another election, properly.

Of course some are arguing that it ought to be reconstituted and those who created the mess should be prosecuted. Personally I am glad that the ruling reminded us of the bigger picture that an election is a process and not an event. I must also say I was disappointed by those who expected the country to erupt in violence.

This only feeds into the stereotypes that people on this continent are just a bunch of savages waiting to jump at each other’s throats. Ideally justice begets peace, and injustices only serve to disturb the peace. A peaceful Kenya is what we all want and need. As East Africans we do not need a reminder of how instability in Kenya affects the rest of us.

If it were not for the events in Kenya, I had wanted to keep my focus on the good stories about conservation and tourism in general. While judges were nullifying an election, Rwandans were witnessing the 13th edition of the Gorilla naming ceremony, Kwita Izina.

I have attended the event a couple of times and I always forget the names given to those primates even before we leave Kinigi (Kwita Izina site). What always warms my heart is the fact that conservation efforts by Rwanda (as well as Uganda and DRC) have seen the population of these gentle giants growing over the recent years.

For the case of Rwanda, we have also seen an increase in the share of the revenue that nearby communities get from gorilla permits sold. I love that a chunk of these goes to services like construction of schools and provision of clean water. It is also good to know that the lions brought the other day from South Africa are multiplying. The rhinos will soon follow the same path and visitors will enjoy their trips to our parks even more. Indeed conservation is life.

Uganda seems to have caught the festival bug and milking it fully.  The Nyege Nyege music festival in Jinja has grown into such a huge spectacle that corporate companies are proud to associate with it. It is also a big boost for domestic and regional tourism. One of the big bus companies in Kenya had special reduced fares for those booking to travel from Nairobi to Jinja and back. I wish others could do the same when it is time for festivals in Lamu, or religious tourism in Namugongo or Kibeho. It is the bigger picture.

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