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How Francis Kaparo can make his Second Coming worthwhile

By Editorial | October 2nd 2014

Kenya: The task before Francis Kaparo, the new Chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, is an enormous one and will not only require focus, but serious dedication to duty.

Mr Kaparo takes over the leadership of NCIC from Mzalendo Kibunjia, whose reign did not leave an indelible mark.

Upon being sworn in, Mr Kaparo asked the Government to increase funding to the commission to make it more effective.

Of concern to him was the observation that the commission was under-staffed and lacked adequate resources.

This can be interpreted in two ways; that truly, the commission needs more resources and more funds to give it an edge in the execution of its functions. On the other hand, the chairman could be creating a fall-back situation in case he does not succeed.

It is always easy to blame failure on inadequate resources. Kaparo is one of the best Speakers that the Kenya National assembly has had, having served between 1992 and 2007; the most volatile period of our politics.

It was during that time that multi-party politics was introduced.

It was a mark of his leadership style that Members of Parliament from both sides of the political divide respected him. In the august House, he often tried to maintain objectivity.

But the NCIC is a different kettle of fish. Kaparo comes on board at a time when the country is divided on many issues. The hate and vitriol spewed at political rallies by national leaders, and the violence that is being witnessed across the country as a consequence of unguarded utterances by mostly, leaders, is worrying.

There is so much political and social intolerance in the country that it is no longer safe to express one's opinion in public. Because ordinary Kenyans pick up the cue from elected leaders, it will be necessary for Kaparo to begin by making leaders understand that the freedoms of choice and expression are not negotiable.

Those individual freedoms must be respected within the confines of the Constitution.

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