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Vernacular not the cause of tribalism

By Oluoch Okello | February 28th 2017

I disagree with the sentiments expressed by Paul Maina in an article The Standard published on February 27, 2017. Mr Maina said vernacular had enhanced tribalism in the country.

There is no need to bar politicians from using their mother tongue at public rallies as long as they remain responsible. Political campaigns are about persuasion and connecting with the audience in a language that reverberates well with the subject.

Article 44 of the Constitution, under the Bill of Rights, gives every person the right to use the language of his/her choice. In fact, read together with Article 7(3), the Constitution states that "the State shall promote and protect the diversity of languages of the people of Kenya and promote the development and use of indigenous languages..."

It is misleading to insinuate that vernacular use promotes hate mongering, exclusion, tribal dominance and bigotry. These problems are enhanced by tribalism, favouritism, selective application of the law and lack of national values.

All that is required to tame hate speech is patriotism and responsibility among citizens.

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