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November 21, 2018

Jubilee Government Should Not Have Rejected Dialogue

 When Raila came back from USA, Cord coalition called for a national dialogue. Dialogue is always right and preferable to war. But what lay behind Cord’s call for dialogue?

 One demand that stood out was that government should be all-inclusive and not of two tribes. But what will constitute all-inclusiveness – Jubilee and Cord coalitions or 42 tribes of Kenya based on merit?

 Second, could the cold of staying out of government and the reality of lacking a platform from which to lead the opposition have started to bite Raila and Kalonzo?

It is possible that unlike Mahatma Gandhi who exercised greater influence outside government than Jawaharalal Nehruh as Prime Minister of India, Kalonzo and Raila will only feel secure in government?

 It is also possible that like many in government, Raila has metamorphosed into an eating animal which Kalonzo has always been, and the two now want to resume eating.

 Third, the way President Uhuru enthusiastically embraced the call for a national dialogue might also suggest that as Mandela negotiated with Botha and de Klerk from prison, Raila and Kalonzo may have been negotiating with Uhuru for a triangle government of TNA, URP and Cord, an arrangement that would allow Raila to share a quarter of the bread and Uhuru to share with opposition blame for the failure to solve intractable national problems.

Two days later however, Uhuru was forced to retreat by Jubilee MPs, same group that forced him out of an agreement to support Musalia Mudavadi for presidency.

 Fourth, there are also some who think that calling for a national dialogue was a conspiracy hatched in America by western powers in belief that Raila in government might represent their economic interests from where they are being edged out by those of China and East Asia.

But there can also be the positive interpretation that a national dialogue is meant for public good. If so, certain issues and views of all and not just those of the opposition must dominate that dialogue.

 For now, Raila is limiting the agenda for the national dialogue to insecurity, corruption, devolution, national unity and inclusivity, IEBC and international isolation. But other issues must also form part of the dialogue if we are to get to the root of our worst problems.

 It is a very grave matter when a national government is constituted of two ethnic coalitions at the exclusion of other ethnic communities. A national dialogue should resolve whether such a government is sustained, fair or even constitutional?

 A national dialogue should look at whether leadership should kill nationalism in order to make negative ethnicity the ideology of our politics, political parties, national government and counties.

Should not a national dialogue decide whether it is nationalism or negative ethnicity that will unite the country and then teach everybody that ideology?

 Though the national dialogue is called by the opposition, it should look at how the country could make the opposition more useful and productive not just with ideas but government giving life to those ideas. Opposition ideas should be sought by government for their value and not always opposed and killed.

Opposition should be seen not as an enemy of the country but as a partner of government. Equally, opposition should be identified more with its ideas than personalities behind it. Real opposition cannot be Raila, Kalonzo or Koigi but what ideas they espouse.

 As is done in America, national dialogue should also discuss whether it would be useful to incorporate into government persons from the opposition that can make special contribution to national development. However this inclusion is not about eating but special service.

 National dialogue should also debate the need and role of patriotism in society. For instance, is it possible for people to defend themselves or country without patriotism?

A national dialogue should resolve whether it is desirable for government and opposition to develop loyalties more to country than individual and ethnic leaders.

 As part of national dialogue, the nation must also discuss whether time has come to withdraw our army from Somalia. We must also discuss whether given western countries are our partners in the war against terrorism and our economic war with them is killing our tourism, must we not stop our economic war and equalize them with China?

We must also debate how best we can fight terror without killing our democracy and rule of law. What shall we gain if we defeat terrorism but lose democracy and rule of law in the process?

Given calamities that bedevil our country, the country must also discuss how best it shall develop a set of national moral values in addition to Ten Commandments, dictates of the Quran and traditional morality that we shall all live by. This country cannot survive without morality, integrity and discipline.

And while wishing President Uhuru, Deputy President Ruto and Joshua arap Sang success in their ICC cases, how best shall we deal with an outcome that is not positive. We must look this possible eventuality in the face whether we like it or not.

 Lastly we must question whether it is possible to eradicate corruption without divorcing our country from primitive capitalism, without barring public officers from business and without marrying social democracy that has taken Scandinavian countries to the economic heights where they are today.

National dialogue must also debate whether devolution can better the country by divorcing it from negative ethnicity and corruption.

 Even if intentions of Cord in calling for a national dialogue might smack of self-interest, a well-intentioned government must not reject it as part of a permanent process of national governance.

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