Most of my friends are leaving DC in droves; a city of 400,000 residents and 60,000 civil servants is expected to host an estimated 5 million visitors and few want to be around for that, despite repeated assurances from the federal government regarding logistics and security.
Others are keeping it indoors, staying glued to their television sets for the big event.
I had it in mind to stay indoors too owing to a terrible cold I picked up mid this week, but friends and colleagues are determined to get me there by all means; the political types I have interacted with on the Hill are eager to ensure I witness the inauguration come what may.
The one thing am sure I will not be doing is to join the Kenyan ministers and members of parliament who are in town for an African bash; I have a low opinion of the Kenyan political elite at this time, and generally consider it wasteful in many of its actions and policy decisions.
I am the contemplative type, and so it is likely the day will be spent assesing the importance of the event, its implications for America’s domestic and foreign policies, as well as Kenya and Africa’s place in an Obama White House.
I feel very uneasy, yet also excited to be associated with Kenya and Africa at this moment in time, thinking the road ahead of me and fellow Kenyans and Africans will be taxing and demanding on one hand but also praying for God to rule over our land and continent to make it different on the other.
I believe in limited government, traditional family values, the rule of law, low taxes, property rights and a strong national defence; this places me right of center on most policy concerns compared with Obama who is left of center, so it will interest me lots if he will attempt to govern from the centre to cater for such interests as I have.
I expect him to challenge existing assumptions about America, characterize such challenges in essentially deep American values and to explore sound alternatives to existing problems in this country.
Importantly, I expect him to provide new leadership on America’s understanding of the triad informing its national security and foreign policy concerns in Africa and other parts of the world: defense, diplomacy and development.
I am concerned that liberal outfits and agenda in and out of America would benefit under his administration, though I hope the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage and ordered liberty will not take a beating from him in Africa or anywhere else.
It is safe to assume he will give greater priority to American interests, though I hope Nairobi’s saddening politics could change somewhat during his tenure, particularly our feeble attempts at legal and land reforms as well as ethnic relations.
I arrived here four months after the disputed 2007 General Elections in Kenya, during which I had contested for the Cherangany parliamentary seat.
Arriving here in an election year was historic for me, despite the fact that I had been schooling here when George Bush was campaigning for his second term.
Going forward, I hope Kenyan and African youth can pick lessons from Obama’s campaigns and victory: the crucial place of ideas and a campaign platform, organizing, messaging, fund-raising and the courage to stand up for what they believe is right for their country and generations to come.
The manner in which he has managed his affairs during the transition period must also invite our interest and study, and I really hope seeds for a new future and hope can begin emerging in Kenyan hearts beyond January 20th.
As a young Kenyan politician, am convinced we have a historic and strategic chance not to get things wrong the next time we go to the ballot box; I really hope our next election can be the time when policy ideas and values get to determine who we elect for the local council, national assembly and the highest office in the land.
Hopefully, we could also witness the emergence of genuinely post-ethnic candidates at all electoral levels for whom love for people and country shall not be merely another public relations gimmick.