Our local media is either ignorant or pretends not be aware of the practice by members of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo to speculate on the possible nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize. Either way, it seems to serve them well to stir-fry the guesswork with such hype as;
“The World to Fete the Big Three”
“… President Kibaki and the PM were believed to be frontrunners for the Nobel Peace Prize”.
Then after the winner had been announced, they wept;
“President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have missed out on the most prestigious peace award that some western media-houses had bet they would win“.
The news lines are obviously mere pandering for which politicians are known to pay for, sometimes quite cheaply. It is only after fifty years that we can confirm whether the two found their way to the list and by what route. Personally, I’d love to celebrate that the two never even made it to the list before wondering who in their right frame of mind would think of suggesting their names.
But we not need to wait that long. First, because I think that in half that time the two will have been buried in the rubbish bin of history and therefore seeking out such details then will not be even remotely stimulating. Secondly, judging from the feigned enthusiasm of the University of Nairobi to confer honorary doctorate degrees upon the two and the accompanying feeble citations that echo the recent media hoopla, the dons at the UoN easily give themselves away. Presumably the doctorates will compensate their favorite sons for losing out on the Nobel Prize.
Of course the university has a right to decorate whomsoever they wish with whatever degree they can create. Inherent in that right also, is the freedom to massage the ego of whichever potentate that directs the flow of money. What they cannot do is fool the citizenry that Kibaki and Raila deserve any award for engendering, restoring, preserving or fostering peace. It is akin to applying lipstick to a pig in recognition for its lifetime achievements in cleanliness.
Kibaki and Raila are culpable for all that went wrong during the post-election violence as the just released Inquiry report suggests. Their names are very likely to feature at the International Criminal Court in uncomplimentary light that makes them totally undeserving of the Nobel Prize for Peace. The UoN cannot pretend not have been aware of the reservations regarding the role played by the two in the mayhem. It is therefore intellectual dishonesty to rush into conferring degrees upon them amidst such damning allegations. They cannot pretend not to have read that some plotters of the mayhem even held their meetings at the President’s official residence. And the PM is on record for repeatedly calling for the release of suspected arsonists, murderers and rapists in police custody because “they were fighting for democracy”.
For sure, we have a goodly number of disingenuous copy typists masquerading as news editors who regularly sell headlines about Raila coughing or Kibaki’s midnight row with the First Lady. But while the regular servings of empty-headed politicking and rumor peddling have thus far kept them in profitable business, this venerating of villains is particularly offensive. Not only are they both culpable for plunging the country into the said inferno, they are yet to employ the power that they share to sort out the after effects. Photo sessions with plaster grins and awards every other week are an insult to the hundreds of thousands who are still to this day suffering the consequences of the violence.
During the award ceremony, the vice-chancellor remarked that he was pleased Kibaki and Raila are being seen to be getting along well and therefore dismissed their surrogates to “continue bickering if they wish”. By extension, for as long as the two are smiling at the cameras together, their supporters can continue hammering each other if they so wish.
A man cannot set his house ablaze, watch from the fence as his neighbors put out the flames then later adorn robes to claim an award for having let in the firefighters.
What a doctoral way of achieving
peace… or a peaceful (piss-full) way to achieve a doctorate.