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Are politicians helping to entrench nationalism?

By Standard Reporter | Jun 18th 2017 | 2 min read

Since independence, Kenya has struggled with creating a united and cohesive nation. Kenyans have sought  to get a common identity through various things such as culture and sports but rarely in politics. In 2008, we saw how divisive politics can push us to a breaking point after post-election violence broke out. We forgot that we hold a similar aspiration of going on with our lives in a peaceful country and ended up losing over 1,200 souls. When President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto decided to work together, we ended up with the bubble of hope that we can build nationalism. The two have sought to build on this newly-found unity and unite the entire country through development.

They have led from the front to enhance development and cohesion. When national government leaders work with devolved governments, it helps to enhance unity. All Kenyans want a developed country where they can meet their individual needs. And they are good at staying united when cheering their teams in sports or social events. However, there is a threat to this build up to nationalism because of the nature of some politicians, from both sides of the divide, who thrive in division. These are the kind of politicians we must shun to grow nationalism across the board.

- The writer, Machel waikenda, is a communications consultant.

There is need for a national response to the root causes of ethnic hatred and help entrench sustainable  development and culture in a more holistic way. For far too long this has been left to the Kenyan political leadership. While political organisations may have the ideology which they can use to influence national culture, norm, belief and citizen values, the sustainability is dependent on how this can be done. The short term interests of politicians and their obsession with power make political parties incapable of being used as the sole determinant of the social organisation of a nation. The inculcation of such ideologies, beliefs of cultures can only be inculcated if deliberate effort is made towards advancement beyond political coalitions.

Being that Kenya’s political leadership has been anchored on personalities who come together to gain power so as to amass wealth instead of creating fair systems that offer opportunities for all equally. Advancement towards a productive nation building from political coalitions requires the creation of structures and systems that see every citizen through the lenses of his/her capacity to contribute to production. Redefine the national value proposition by for example putting more value on innovation.

- The writer, Churchill Saoke  is an expert on governance

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