In times of national crisis, Kenyans have struggled with solidarity. This was witnessed at the dawn of our nation when ethnic politics, cajoled and enticed by the British colonists, came to the fore even as we proclaimed independence from foreign rule.
While never being fully suppressed, they were driven to great excesses again after the 2007 elections in the violence that claimed the lives of over a thousand and displaced hundreds of thousands.
Now we are facing potentially an even greater crisis that could claim the lives of even more than those traumatic months when our nation seemed to be engulfed in flames.
However, this is a different Kenya to the one a decade ago and now we have an opportunity to demonstrate that.
Even though the elections in 2017 were considered controversial and required an unprecedented second ballot, there was limited violence in its aftermath. Moreover, in less than six months, President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga went from belligerent political rivals to allies for a better Kenyan future.
President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga demonstrated that there is another way, and that is to put Kenya and Kenyans first.
Before Kikuyu or Luo, and before Jubilee or ODM, there are Kenyan interests. These must take precedence, as the two have shown us through the handshake and the Building Bridges Initiative.
The threat of coronavirus has reached us and is beginning to test our limits in a way it has broken many nations, like Italy, which are straining under the crisis. Almost the entire continent of Europe is under lockdown.
President Kenyatta is attempting to put in place measures that can ameliorate the effects of the looming crisis. We will only get through this as a nation if we act in unity.
Viruses do not differentiate between tribe, region or religion. They affect us all equally.
That is why there is need to adhere to the regulations that have been put in place. Furthermore, now is not the time to take advantage of your fellow citizens.
The president has called on shopkeepers and businesses not to raise prices of goods and services.
“Nobody in this country has ever had a problem with people making profit but indeed it is highly immoral if you take advantage of the unfortunate situation to make super profits,” President Kenyatta said when he met members of the Governing Council of the Kenya Bankers Association Governing Council at State House.
The bankers were at State House to introduce a raft of measures that they will undertake to cushion Kenyans and the economy from the effects of coronavirus.
It is imperative that we all act like good people to one another. All of our holy books, regardless of our religion, entreats us to act fairly with one another in fraternity. This should be the case in times of crisis.
Unfortunately, we are starting to see a minority show an ugly side in their reaction to the crisis as reports suggest that a man was beaten to death in Msambweni in Kwale County because he was believed to have contracted coronavirus. The victim was set upon by a group of youths and beaten so badly that he later died in hospital.
This is not who we are as a people. It is understandable that there is fear and uncertainty but with this comes a lot of opportunity.
There is an opportunity to be good to your fellow Kenyan, to help and assist them, and in doing so help our nation get through the trying times ahead.
In fact, we have a chance to finally bury the ghosts of 2007-2008 and all of the tribal infighting that has plagued our nation since independence.
We now have a common unseen enemy that could strike any of us, rich or poor, urban or rural. It is an indiscriminate enemy, so let us not discriminate.
Let us show the world that this is a different Kenya where everyone pulls in the same direction, for the common good. We cannot suppress the virus, but we can stand as one Kenya in the battle against coronavirus.