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Educate Kenyans about secession at public rallies in simple easily understandable language

By Benson Gathemia | Published Wed, January 10th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 9th 2018 at 23:48 GMT +3

The overarching bases for any disaffiliation of a group from its  nationality should be the  promise of  better  social  economic lives of the separatists. That promise  should be demonstrated  beyond  doubts that the radical decision victims  are led to make  does not jeopardize them further.

Kenya, as a nation, has under the constitution, legitimate interest in its citizens economic and social rights. It would not, therefore, tolerate its people being  influenced out of their livelihoods to worse  standards of life. In this connection, it is paramount  that the  Kenyan populace appreciate the import of secession as a proposed means of  liberation the opposition is crusading for. Currently the only ground opposition has proponed  is  the perceived electoral injustice.

Since the opposition speaks  with rage, anger, rhetoric and  undertones for  revenge, without dissemination of the  benefits to be gained from such a radical venture, it sends chills of fear for violence and for resort to destruction of lives and property as has been the experience.

A case for secession

If former  US President Woodrow Wilson’s 1918 definition of  self determination as the right of a people to form its own state is anything to go by, a case for secession can exist. But who is the “self” that makes this determination? What is your identity? Is it based  only  on political party groupings? What are the grounds and benefits  for seeking the determination ?How will  secession  help? The group has to define itself  succinctly to its current or would be supporters.

The only identification of the  dissenting Kenyans is their political affiliation. Political parties are episodic and can change several times during the election cycles. The grouping , therefore, is  not cohesive and might  not hold together. There is  no historic, cultural heritage, race, ethnic , religious, or language  bonds between  the pockets of  the supposed  supporters thinly  scattered in  the country. The extent  of the perceived new state fractures, segments and partitions all essential communication and other infrastructure.

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According to the philosopher Aristotle, the whole is more than the total sum of its parts, and together, everyone achieves more (T.E.A.M). The groups  will  of necessity shift allegiance  based on which side of the bread is buttered. The opposition leadership should  demonstrate how  its supporters will hold together.

NASA should educate the public on the resources it would have at its disposal that they cannot currently access, for exploitation to fuller potential. The benefits of the venture should be explained in simple clear terms and language  to the people of humble backgrounds for them to understand what they are getting themselves into, not in  the technical jargon adopted by their leaders and advisers. The groups promises to its members should be clerified. Are  the group members  going to continue enjoying services from existing or alternative public institutions, schools, hospitals, security against terrorist attacks etc.

Can the separatists promise food security and other supplies?Is the separation compatible with the budding devolution dispensation. How does separation affect the interests of those dissenting and those left behind with whom there are family relations? Is the breakaway of the  group good riddance? Does secession harm the members  by taking resources away or causing other disruptions?

The group should provide education on examples or lack of successful secessionists in the world. The implications to the neighboring countries and the  international relations that secession might have on the perceived gains should be brought out at public rallies. How will resistance to the secession from within or from the neighboring countries be countered?

For example, there was resistance from the Nigerians when its  Eastern constituents proposed  to form  the state of Biafra where most oil reserves are, because the resource belonged to all Nigerians. The Biafran war lasted over two  years. When  Somalia agitated for secession of  Somalis in Northeastern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia to secede, both countries resisted, resulting in fighting in the region. Subsequently, Somalia itself  fragmented in a civil war among its clans. The Eritreans fought  annexation by Ethiopia for thirty years before holding a referendum to allow their war-battered country to recover. The secession proponents in Kenya have no minerals or any other wealth to take away like  the Sothern Sudan which  had an  irreconcilable past with the North due to many years of  war over resources and religion.

The downsides

After it seceded from Sudan, ethnic violence inside South Sudan intensified and has been getting worse by the day. Catalonia, one of the several examples outside Africa, which is  fresh in our minds , is estimated to account for a fifth of Spain’s Growth Domestic Product. Yet, besides its secessionist designs being  illegal, Catalans are seriously divided on the issue, both among themselves and from the rest of Spain.  The fact that many states in the world  are ethnically heterogeneous, like Kenya, discourages  secession due to the potential  disastrous consequences.  The Kenyan’s  opposition’s  clamor for secession should educate its followers on how  it will overcome similar turmoil experienced by other  secessionist movements.

The proposed secession on the only grounds advanced of electoral  injustice, real or perceived, and the threat to sacrifice lives, will plunge Kenya into worse violence than  experienced  following  the 2007 elections. Swearing in of  the leaders of the opposition is sure recipe for unprecedented crisis.


 Mr Kimani is a communication consultant.