Demos are a recipe for chaos, dialogue is the way to go

Anti-riot police engage a section of youth during Azimio protests in Mathare 4A on May 2, 2023. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

I am a protester against the pain the protests and the security forces are inflicting on innocent public. But I am not hurting anyone.

Only sadists, self-serving, and the self-aggrandising, would hurt and lead their followers to loss of life and property of the people they have confined to squalor over the years. Sadists take pleasure in inflicting pain, punishment, or humiliation on others who worship them.

Mandamano and the countering security forces have been hurting innocent victims of circumstances, rekindling painful memories of the past. Past mandamano snatched away lives in the Kiambaa massacre of 2007/ 2008, the 13-year-old Yassin Hussein Moyo of Kariokor Flats and six-month-old Samantha Pendo of Kisumu, to mention just a few.

What other national interests do leaders, masquerading as crusaders of democracy, have that are greater than protecting Kenyans from such losses? Nobody humane enough would not heed the pleas of those grieving after losing relatives and property through violence and tear gas.

Were those leaders humane and nationalists, the losses suffered in the recurring protests should compel them to engage in dialogue. As Kaltum D Guyo demands in her article, 'Punish insurrection as a deterrent', the law enforcers who do not play their role to the letter should be held to account.

These losses only add to unbearable emotional hurt leading to depression, suicides and murders out of the desperation caused by a deteriorating economy, drought, grisly road carnage, banditry, delayed salaries and cults.

The protests recur with the same hurtful results because politicians get blind followers. Politicians dupe the public that "in politics there are no permanent enemies". But politics create permanent enemies, violence and civil war, losses of lives and property.

Kenyans should stop being gullible and easy prey. They make these leaders what they become and get suffering in turn. This is not what the vote you cast bargained for.

It was therefore gratifying to patriots to see the antagonists momentarily embrace dialogue. But soon, some reneged on the noble intentions. Grapevine has it that it was more the potential of their actions resulting to charges by ICC than their care for humanity that they had yielded to dialogue. The parties are now competing on who takes the other to ICC first. The guilty are afraid.

In dialogue, unlike in debate, parties' resort into a win-win situation. It is, therefore, blackmail and hypocrisy for the leaders to renege to conditions of irreducible minimums and threat of recourse to demonstrations should dialogue fail. Dialogue does not fail, if parties are patriotic.

Only nationalists, crusading for the common good, not personal interests, resort to dialogue, because the goal of dialogue is to listen for increased understanding of self and others, and for strengths to affirm and learn from each other's point of view.

Leaders watch the torture in the comfort of their cars and high-end residences, with three course meals in five-star hotels, as their happy slaves scamper, eating dust and smoke from their masters' motorcades.

-Mr Kimani is a consultant in Conflict Management and Peace Building, a Mediator and Counselling Psychologist