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The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

N the morn­ing of Mashu­jaa Day, TV view­ers had a choice: They could ei­ther watch the recorded de­bate of the two lead­ing con­tenders for the US pres­i­dency, or the live trans­mis­sion of the Mashu­jaa Day na­tional cel­e­bra­tions trans­mit­ted from the Keny­atta Sta­dium, Machakos county.

If you the reader are one of those who like to flick be­tween chan­nels when watch­ing TV, you would have seen an amaz­ing con­trast.

And this con­trast re­minds us that with all the devel­op­men­tal chal­lenges Kenya faces, and de­spite the tragic af­ter­math of at least one of our past gen­eral elec­tions, Kenyan democ­racy is ma­tur­ing very fast in­deed.

In Amer­ica, they are just now com­ing to the end of an elec­tion cam­paign that has been shame­ful at ev­ery turn.

For months now, the con­test has brought out the worst of many Amer­i­cans and re­vealed a deeply xeno­pho­bic and in­deed racist and big­oted un­der­cur­rent in US pol­i­tics.

Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump spent most of that de­bate be­lit­tling each other. And in the great shock of the evening, Trump even went so far as to de­clare that he would not recog­nise the elec­tion re­sults if he felt they had been rigged in Clin­ton’s favour.

In sharp con­trast, in Machakos we had Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta, as gra­cious as al­ways, al­low­ing his sworn political ri­val, former Vice Pres­i­dent Kalonzo Musyoka, to ad­dress the crowd - Kalonzo hav­ing been in­vited by Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto, no less, to say a few words.

We also saw Kalonzo recog­nis­ing his Cord “co-prin­ci­pal” (and bit­ter ri­val for the pres­i­dency) Sen­a­tor Moses We­tang’ula, who was also present.

Kalonzo took the op­por­tu­nity to de­clare that he would be of­fer­ing the Pres­i­dent se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion at the 2017 elec­tion.

And the Pres­i­dent – in marked con­trast to what Trump said dur­ing the US Pres­i­den­tial de­bate in Las Ve­gas the night be­fore – ac­knowl­edged that if he lost, he would will­ingly han­dover power.

This event took place in Machakos county, where Gov­er­nor Al­fred Mu­tua, is a bit­ter political ri­val of Kalonzo’s in a strug­gle for re­gional supremacy.

When you bear in mind how many political ri­vals we had on that stage, and how cour­te­ously they all spoke and re­acted to one an­other, I rest my case.

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