The protracted political war in this country has shifted from the streets to the floor of the House. As the game of cards continues, it is apparent that it’s a tough ride for the honourable House. Each side of the political divide has taken a hard-line stand and it doesn’t seem like anyone is about to back down. Begging the big question; how is this bound to end, if at all it will? Or maybe the right question to ask is, how is this supposed to end?
The truth of the matter is that nobody goes to war unless they believe they are right and nobody goes to war to lose. It is apparent that both sides believe they are right and both sides are determined to win! But the reality of the matter is that they are warring and when people get into the war zone, it follows that there will be causalities. Ultimately, one team will win and the other will lose, unless they identify an enemy that is bigger than both of them and therefore the need to come together to fight that enemy.
The differences between Jubilee and NASA MPs are a microcosm of the many underlying conflicts that the two parties experience-both in house and between them-which will continue to surface and be played out in mutating forms as days go by. This is not particularly strange bearing in mind that our differences naturally have the potential to lead to conflict. Conflict is therefore not the problem; it is the result of the problem which is our inability to manage our differing views and perspectives making communication challenging.
The remedy is not for one group to give up their perspective for another or forcing one to do things like the other one wants. No, the goal is to co-exist in the midst of our diversity. This problem is solved when parties with differing perspectives create shared meaning so as to facilitate communication. Shared meaning sometimes does not exist, that’s why it needs to be created. This is done when the two differing parties genuinely ask themselves, ‘what does this mean to us?’ This interrogation needs to be sustained until the question is answered.
For this interrogation to be successful, the individuals needs to pull themselves out of the crowd long enough for them to self-introspect for the purpose of response. This interrogation process will therefore become problematic when conducted within the stronghold of groupthink. It will require that members become individual diplomats and ask themselves the question on behalf of the group, with the clear understanding that differences can open up opportunities for collaboration, cooperation and learning. That our differences should not have lasting ramifications on the society’s future. People can learn from their differences and create something together that is greater than they could produce separately.
In the case of NASA and Jubilee MPs, it seems like nothing greater is going to be produced separately. This individualist hard stand will only create more tension and animosity and break a great thing into a small thing that can no longer hold. The idea is not to come together and create one team for things to work but rather to go after the greater thing which constitutes finding the shared meaning. One of the things we all seem to agree on and embrace is that this country is greater than anyone of us.
A united nation is a greater thing than a divided one, a strong Parliament is a greater thing than a weak one, a country governed by the rule of law is a greater thing than a kangaroo one, a corruption free country is greater than one infested by thieves, and a strong economy is greater than a people struggling with poverty. But these are questions that both sides need to ask themselves, because if all you want is to rule a people, you want a small thing! Look around at what is happening in Africa and smell the coffee! To lead is to liberate not just the people but yourself. It’s to deliver yourself from a wrong mindset, it’s to esteem the codes that govern a people, it’s to exert a power that influences others in a way that is more enduring and welcoming, it’s to solve problems and find lasting solutions that impact the nation, empower the people and outlive you. We therefore cannot demonise the differences between the two parties, we can only hope that their strength will be found in managing them.
Ms. Omukoba is a Communications Strategist and Lecturer at Kenyatta [email protected]