The recent revelation by Hon. M. Kuria of the alleged fixing of ICC suspects has been received with mixed reactions. Some politicians and religious leaders think Kuria’s claims are “opening up old wounds” and polarizing the nation. I beg to differ with this thinking. Kuria should be celebrated! He is launching the country into a very crucial process of genuine forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.
It is true that the question of PEV is a serious and divisive matter. It is one of the regrettable moments of our history as a nation. Though it is eight years ago, the memories are still fresh in our minds. Many lives were lost, while others still bear the marks on their bodies, relationships between individuals and communities broken, and property destroyed. The worst thing to do is bury our heads on the sand and pretend that the problem does not exist. It will be insensitive of Kenyans to blindly say “let’s move on” without resolving the real issues amicably.
Over the last eight years, there have been efforts to ensure justice is implemented but this has been elusive and to some extent unsuccessful. There has also been attempts toward peace, reconciliation, and bring cohesion among communities but still much has not been achieved.
As a matter of fact, today the issue of PEV is still an emotive issue(no wonder we still call it a ‘wound’ not a ‘scar’) because no passionate move has been pursued to bring healing. We have never resolved our issues; we buried them like the person who resorts to chang’aa to forget his problems. During the last general election many people travelled to their rural/tribal homes because “who knows what could happen”. I take this as an indicator that we have only wished our problems away and have not decisively dealt with them.
Hon. Kuria’s ‘fixing’ claims and disclosure of his role in relation to the PEV cases is fundamental because it can redirect us into a path to genuine forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. The foundational step toward genuine forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation is confession. It sounds simple yet it is not an easy thing to do. It takes courage to say, “I am sorry, I did it. Forgive me”. It is a courageous move because it expresses one’s willingness to accept responsibility and consequence of their actions.
In my opinion, this man’s confession should be commended rather than condemned. I wish there could be thousands of echoes across the country of the same confessions. And for that matter, such voices should be listened to if we are serious about reestablishing trust. Confession is the medicine to reconciliation. You may not agree with Mr. Kuria on everything he says but on this issue he is telling his version of truth. Sometimes truth hurts yet it is what brings true healing and liberation.
We have all along believed that blanket forgiveness will resolve the 2008 post poll chaos, but that strategy was doomed to failure from the start. It has only worsened the situation and created more resentment, hurt and division. True healing and reconciliation only begins when the offender specifically admits his/her wrong and is sorrowful over his/her attitudes and actions. Genuine words of confession do not and should not polarize a nation but firmly unite. They do not increase hurt and suspicion but fosters genuine love, unity, and restores trust. We can enhance peace and cohesion not by urging people, “Let’s forget and move on” but by calling a wrong a wrong and asking for forgiveness.
Confession and sorrow for one’s action is important because it also leads to the path of recovery and justice. Although restitution can be impossible in cases where lives were lost; the victims should be helped to pick up their lives and move on. A wrong must be righted. Stolen things should be returned. Truth should be told. Those found guilty should humbly take responsibility. This becomes easier after the offender admits his/her wrong and seeks forgiveness from the one offended. In our opinions, let’s all give truth a chance by creating an environment where people can publicly admit their past wrongs without fear of physical or verbal attack. Confession and sorrow for a wrong done is necessary for genuine forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.