Tomorrow marks the anniversary of a big event in American history. On April 9, 1865, 90 years after the declaration of independence, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant of the Union forces – ending the 4 year American civil war which had cost an estimated 750,000 lives.
152 years later to the day, an event of great magnitude to this nation takes place – the swearing in of Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya’s 4th president. Despite the fact that our elections were nothing compared to the civil war, he inherits a nation that is almost as deeply divided as the US was back then.
In this comparison, I see cause for both caution and hope. Caution because the civil war resulted in huge loss of life and caused poverty in vast regions of the US for almost a century. We must never underestimate the power of pride, negative ethnicity and hate and must stand up together as a people to defeat them.I also see cause for hope. Hope because we passed our new constitution and held a very divisive election without resorting to war. Hope because we accomplished that feat 50 years into our independence. And hope because we are not alone – others have been even more divided than we and if they could go ahead and build a great nation despite of it, then so can we!
I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: I may not have voted for Uhuru Kenyatta as my president. But by the will of the people confirmed by the Supreme Court, today he holds that position. Over the next 5 years, he is my president and his success is my success. I challenge us all on this historic day to put aside our differences and in the words of the 3rd verse of our national anthem…