- Refugees are proof that internal strife and conflict have no benefits
- Refugees offer critical lessons on why Kenyans need to stay peaceful after elections
There is a lot you can learn from refugees living within our borders. One is how precious peace is to a country. The violence, torture, cruelty, and atrocities suffered by Congolese refugees at the hands of militias and government soldiers teach us that war and conflict are not worth it. The cost of war is unnecessary suffering, wanton loss of life and property, displacement, hopelessness, and helplessness.
There is nothing beneficial about violence and conflict. The ones who suffer the most are the most vulnerable - women, children, and the disabled. If you hear the story of a Congolese refugee who has seen war and conflict then you will value peace above all else, even above your own tribe and political affiliations. If you want to learn how bad negative tribalism and ethnicity is, ask a Rwandan refugee who fled the genocide.
They will tell you how negative ethnicity cost them dearly. A Rwandan will tell you how hate breeds hate. They will tell you real-life stories of how humans commit the most cruel and heinous acts to each other because of hate.
It never ends well for a country where hate is prevalent. Refugees fleeing Burundi will advise you to jealously guard our hard-earned democratic space. Refugees remind us that we must guard against leaders who amass great power and wealth, who undermine institutions and the rule of law, and who have no respect for life and limb in their unquenchable lust for power.
We must guard against populism and euphoria. We must elect a leader who shares our sense of justice and good governance and our desire for democratic and good governance, who upholds integrity and has zero tolerance to corruption.
Lastly, refugees teach us to be humane at all times and to all people, for if as a country we fail to uphold peace, justice, and good governance, we may become refugees ourselves. We must treat refugees with respect and dignity because one day you and I could be running to another country. How would you want to be treated?
Wouldn't you want that country to give you a place to stay, water to quench your thirst, food to keep you alive, and work so that you can live in dignity? We must learn value peace, justice, good governance.