Peace is not absence of war, it is the ability to tolerate one another
Revenge missionsThird, the commemoration will run for 100 days with flags flying half-mast. This is slightly over three months of deliberate remembrance of what happened in 1994. I can only imagine the government is telling the young generation, “look, never again!” In the first incidence it occurred to me that the absence of war does not mean peace. The killings were stopped 25 years ago, but the effects are still felt. Death is painful regardless to whom it happens. But, politically instigated killings have a horrible chain of lumping people into platoons of hate leading to attacks, revenge missions and escalated tension. That Rwanda has gone through this, talks about it, people give testimonies on public TV and go on with their lives is no ordinary achievement for a small country, moreover, with two big tribes; the Tsutsi and Hutu. The Twaa are a minority. On this, Rwanda deserves global respect. The second and third cases got me wondering about ways in which our sporadic but also politically instigated violence especially before, during and after general elections may not, 25 years to come, plant seeds of hatred. Seeds that will germinate over time to a point where one day we shall hack each other on a larger scale than we did in 2008 following the disputed presidential election.
Legally constitutedIn the worst case scenario, just as it happened in the last general elections, we frowned and charged at each other following another disputed presidential election outcome. Thank God, the Handshake de-escalated the ballooning tensions. But come 2022, there is reason to worry. We have tolerated a limping IEBC and allowed it to conduct elections without being fully legally constituted, and more significantly without meaningful initiatives towards addressing the perennial grievances that push us to the brink of civil disorder. Electoral reforms become a subject of debate a year to elections when we are faced with tense and intense political campaigns, such that the challenges and concerns of critical electoral institutions do not make sense. Attention is always drawn to horse race stuff, including specialised throwing of insults from one political camp to another. The Rwandese have learnt that peace is not a luxury. Our leaders will do us a great service if they address factors that constantly throw us off balance once we are faced with a general election. We have a life to live and, please God, we should live it peacefully. Across the country, there are many scars. The tribal fights over land, cattle rustling, boundary feuds, unresolved mega corruption cases, the worrying high rate of unemployment among others can serve as triggers of chaos and killings. Our best given scenario is that we have very highly qualified Kenyans doing great transformative works in and outside the country. We only have ourselves to blame should we fail to guard the peace we are enjoying. Dr Mokua is Executive Director, Jesuit Hakimani Centre
We are undertaking a survey to help us improve our content for you. This will only take 1 minute of your time, please give us your feedback by clicking HERE. All responses will be confidential.