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Political competition must never be at the cost of lives

By David Oginde | November 26th 2017

Having engaged with politicians at various levels over the last several years, I have concluded that politics – no matter how dirty – is a game politicians greatly enjoy. Just like rugby – which some view as a rough game, but is cherished by players and fans – politics is dearly loved by those involved.

Thus, I long made up my mind to simply let politicians play their games as I attend to the duties God has placed upon my shoulders. I made the deliberate choice to neither align myself to any of their ever mutating parties, nor allow their theatrics to derail my life or vision.

Instead, just like some of us glibly watch rugby and wonder what the game is all about, I too watch politics – sometimes with a measure of indifference – and wonder what could be going on. In this way I maintain my peace and retain my sanity.

That notwithstanding, there are several irregularities and illegalities in politics that cannot be ignored. One such irregularity is when politicians rally us behind them and demand that we join in their dirty games. Sadly, many of us are vain enough to do so. Some have become so fanatic they are willing to insult, fight, and even kill one another over a game they do not understand, and for political players they have no direct relationship with.

The sad reality is even if their team eventually wins, these ruffians go back home to “ugali na maji” and continue to “meza mate” while the men and women they fought for, retreat to enjoy pleasures of this world. It is an irregularity – indeed an evil – I have seen under the sun.

What concerns me though are the illegalities that have come to mark the game of politics in our nation. Politicians have got to the place where they are ready and willing to sacrifice human life in pursuit of their selfish agenda. There are those who mobilise innocent men and women and lead them into what is obviously a death trap.

Then there are those on the other side who mobilise security forces to beat, maim, and kill innocent Kenyans. With a string of deaths on their trail, the same merchants of death mount political podiums, to tread accusations at each other in a diabolical political blame game. It is evil.

If there is anything that is abundantly clear even to the most irreligious of us, is that human life is sacred. It cannot be played around with, or used as mere collateral in wicked political games. Engrained in our human psyche is that no man is free to take another person’s life under any circumstances. Throughout history, every time a human being arises to kill another, he or she must first dehumanise that person in their heart or mind. Cain had to disown Abel as his brother before he killed him.

Likewise, abortionists reduce babies into mere foetuses before they cruelly cut them into pieces and flush them down the drain. In many inter-ethnic conflicts, enemy communities have been labelled as cockroaches, rats, or dogs before being annihilated. It is evil.

In the recently released movie – Denial – the true story is told of historical scholar, David Cawdell Irving, who dismissed the Jewish holocaust as near fiction. Irving argued that Hitler did not know of the extermination of Jews or, if he did, opposed it. The film thus dramatises the 1996 Irving v Penguin Books Ltd case in the UK, in which Deborah Lipstadt, an American Holocaust scholar, was sued by Irving for libel in calling him a denier. What is totally repugnant is that in one of his defences, Irving claims that the gas injected into the chambers – that killed six million Jews – was only meant to kill the lice on their bodies! How callous, some of us would say. Yet, we have heard a similar kind of narrative as scores of people have been killed in our own nation during this election season. The official position has been that, “No Kenyan has been killed. Only thugs, looters, hooligans, or outright criminals.” Likewise, for the Opposition, the dead have been “martyrs of freedom.” Really!

When politicians begin to dehumanise Kenyans, in order to kill or have them killed, then men and women of conscience must arise and tell them off. Politicians are perfectly free to play their games, in the best way they know how, but never at the cost of the lives of innocent Kenyans. It is illegal. It is evil.

- The writer is the Presiding Bishop of the Christ Is The Answer Ministries

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