My Newspaper Article to The African Bulletin, Netherlands, April 2017
24 Mar 2017
DESPITE TRIBAL POLITICS; KENYANS HUNGER FOR SMOOTH TRANSITION OF POWER
(By: Julius P. Kessy)
Political leaders who categorize people based on their culture make the world more dangerous and this theft of our individual identities not only diminishes us but it weakens the world.
Dearest readers, not so long ago, Gambia, was at its greatest trial as a democratic earthquake was about to shake up such a tiny West African country following Jammeh’s refusal to step down. This was unlike in the Gold coast where a smooth ascend of Nana Akufo Addo into power seemed a big news and to some a proof that Africa is compatible with democracy.
Perhaps these events shifted our attention away from a place where Africa and the world need to focus on right now as tensions rise ahead of polls. This very place is a familiar country, Kenya; an East African territory, with cooler climate along its Indian ocean coastline to Nairobi, the capital and country’s commercial hub.
Much like Tanzania in 2015 when Edward Lowassa, a known quantity, stood as a flag bearer for the opposition coalition, Kenyan August election is for sure going to be the closest election in African history as opposition parties vow to unite against the ruling party.
No matter the outcome, whether Jubilee will retain power or the opposition parties will democratically oust it from power, I’ll leave it for Kenyans to decide. All we need is to see fair and transparent elections so that the winner is not a specific candidate or party but Kenya, Africa and world stability.
My intention of writing this article is humble and in my view, I think Professor PLO Lumumba understands it well when he said; “in Kenya like most African countries what we call elections are essentially ethnic census to determine which ethnic group is larger than the others”. Not just Kenya but Africa should liberate itself from the primitive thoughts of tribalism, the men and women should serve the public based on their abilities, people should never vote a candidate in the line; “He/she is from my tribe” and hope for favor as unfaithful politicians will always win the audience in such basis.
In fact, Kenya has comparatively less tribes; thereby this would be advantageous for tribal harmony. The neighborhood, Tanzania, has over 120 tribes, each speaking its native language and therefore one would expect Tanzania to be the country mostly maimed by the phantom of ethnicity, the fact which doesn’t hold true. I’m not saying this to be familial line or hereditary in Tanzania or it being embedded in the behavioral DNA of Kenyans but in my opinion these are results of the deadly colonial project of divide and rule that colonialists used to breed hatred, allocate special status to some groups and dismiss others as being of no significance.
To this point, it is difficult to blame anyone on the prevailing tribal politics in Africa especially in this era where almost all of the youth populace didn't experience the colonial rule.
If we have chosen to grow and own up to the past mistakes because they suit our preferences, we can also decide to embrace the ideology of uniting and lead. This is what we see; afro phobia in South Africa, the Tutsi against Hutu in Rwanda and the Kikuyu of Kenya who have secured wealth and power privilege and no wonder that the gap between those who "Have" and "Don't have" gets even more wider as paving a cow path is from laying a run way.
If education is infused in a positive way to change our minds and hearts as it had been done in Tanzania with the great effort of Mwalimu Nyerere's regime and developing a unifying language, Kenya will turn into a cultural paradise and one of great nations in the world.
So, what can we hope from Kenya with regard to the narrow time prior this year’s polls?
I have personally been led to believe there is nothing that Kenyans admire so much than unity, safety and their will being respected. We hope Kenyans won’t kill and destroy each other’s property merely on account of election results.
The established institutions should carry out fair and transparent voting process and citizens should never feel there is no justice in courts of law. If it happens Kenyans peacefully protest for their rights, this should be safeguarded by country’s laws.
I’m sure we have matured up enough to listen and respect each other’s point of view keeping in mind why should we torture one another basing on election competition in which we’re neither contenders nor referees. Kenya should never bleed because of election and the greatest proof of stability is the peaceful handling of power that right now Kenyans seem to hunger for.
God bless Africa, God bless Kenya.
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