Fatima Ezzahra Daif
Fatima Ezzahra Daif
Morocco World News
Johannesburg, March 10, 2013
On Monday, March 4th, millions of Kenyans turned out to cast their ballot in what can be considered as the most nervously anticipated elections in the country’s history and arguably the most important one.
This was Kenya’s first general election since the 2007 disputed polls left almost 1,200 people dead and displaced 600,000 due to inter-ethnic violence. 4 million citizens didn’t vote at the time.
But In 2013, Kenyan elections had a totally different face.
Clearly aiming for a real turnout in their history and a get-over of the past, Kenyans headed to affirm their choice, and cast the ballots, in an election that saw a record turnout of 84.9% of registered voters.
After votes have been counted, Uhuru Kenyatta was announced the new Kenyan president, winning the position a slim majority (50.07% against 43.28 percent of the vote for Raila Odinga)
The calls for peace made by a large number of Kenyans, the international community and many activists around the globe seem to get a positive response, since only few cases of violence were registered, as opposed to the 2007 post-elections period.
In his victory speech, Kenyatta said: “Today, we celebrate the triumph of democracy; the triumph of peace; the triumph of nationhood. Despite the misgivings of many in the world, we demonstrated a level of political maturity that surpassed expectations. That is the real victory today. A victory for our nation. A victory that demonstrates to all that Kenya has finally come of age. That this, indeed, is Kenya’s moment.” He also called on his political opponents to work with him in this journey with “friendship and cooperation”
Indeed, a smooth handover of power is fundamental to restoring Kenya’s image as a democratic prosperous nation in the eyes of its citizens, in the eyes of the African community, and in the eyes of the world as large.
What Kenya showed the world today in these elections are perquisites of the nation’s stand against political issues and social ethnical conflicts. These elections can affect future generations in the sense that it can be the beginning of a culture of coexistence, and most of all, the trust that every voice is important, that every voice will be heard, that every voice can make a difference.
Kenyans have spoken, Kenyatta answered the call, and a new age has begun.
The upcoming years would definitely be of great significance in the Kenyan history. Yes, the expectations bar is set high, yet, Kenyans all united can achieve the goals they failed to reach when divided. In all cases, the world will be watching.
Fatima Ezzahra Daif is Morocco World News’ correspondent in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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