The political landscape is already changing as we come closer to 2017 general elections. Politicians and citizens alike are gearing up for yet another bout of campaigns and political rallies in a bid to gain the vote of the electorate. In any democratic society, elections are a fundamental aspect of its political, social and economic development. But it only becomes effective if it is done in a transparent and credible manner without any element of ethnicity and retrogressive regionalism.
Since time immemorial, this country has evolved through different phases but one thing seems to elude us; eliminating negative ethnicity. As a matter of fact, it is getting worse by each election. From the 1960’s KAMATUSA to the 1970’s GEMA, political alliances along tribal lines are not new in Kenya. Every period preceding a general election in Kenya is overshadowed with rampant and volatile negative ethnicity talks and hate speeches. And that is why having democratic, free and fair elections may still only exist within the confines of our figments of imagination. Are Kenyans really defined by tribalism? Or haven’t we already witnessed the extent to which it can dent our development as a country not to mention the loss of innocent lives? What will it take for us to finally realize that nothing good can ever come from negative ethnicity?
We’ve been reduced to a country run by the infamous ‘tyranny of numbers’ at the cost of massive corruption, lack of credibility in leadership and rampant inter-community clashes. Parastatals and other state corporations are tribal affairs whereby employment and job promotions are defined along ethnic backgrounds. Misappropriation of funds is a norm within these bodies but no one is held accountable because they are ‘sheltered’ by the cabal of tribal Afro-pessimists. And now it has slowly encroached into our learning institutions which are supposed to nurture and develop intellectuals. Student elections, specifically in universities and other institutions of higher learning, are marred by frequent ethnic alliances and violence. Regional student-union organizations, masquerading as development-oriented, have turned into fully functional avenues of politics amidst negative ethnic connotations.
Negative ethnicity is the root of all our problems. It creates in us false beliefs about the cultures and perceptions of other tribes. We have listened to such hogwash for so long that our brains have been ‘neuro-associatively’ conditioned to accept the myths as the truth. That is why politicians easily incite us against one another; because they have mastered the art of tapping from our already polarized minds. Without negative ethnicity, we wouldn’t have these regional political parties. Without it, we wouldn’t have neglect and discrimination of the minority, especially in the North eastern region. Neither would we have ineffective sycophants masquerading as officers in state corporations and parastatals.
Ethnicity is a big disease within our nation. A viral disease for which we must find a lasting solution
The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission was established to investigate the gross human rights violations and other historical injustices in Kenya between 12 December 1963 and 28 February 2008. This was aimed at improving national cohesion by seeking public opinion and formulating pragmatic strategies to act as guidelines and set the pace towards achievement of nationwide unity by overcoming retrogressive socio-politics and cynical beliefs. TJRC tabled its report in parliament in May 2013 after much delay. The report has been as controversial as the commission itself during its mandate due to allegations that it had been altered prior to its presentation to the public. Unfortunately, the report did not provide any actionable strategy to combat tribalism.
We must stand up against ethnicity. We have the responsibility of shunning retrogressive politics that incline us to turn against each other. Leaders are chosen by God. Ours is to exercise our constitutional right to vote in a peaceful manner amidst a legal framework to ensure free and fair elections. God bless Kenya. God bless Kenyans.