MENTAL DICTATORSHIP

Ethnic voting restricts freedom of expression

In Summary

• The Kikuyu Council of Elders has denied endorsing Peter Kenneth as the spokesman for Central Kenya

• Pressure to vote according to ethnicity restricts the citizen's freedom of expression

Kikuyu Elders pray at President Uhuru Kenyatta's rural home in Ichaweri village, Gatundu South.
Kikuyu Elders pray at President Uhuru Kenyatta's rural home in Ichaweri village, Gatundu South.

The Kikuyu Council of Elders has dismissed reports that it endorsed Peter Kenneth as the leader of Central Kenya after he met them in Nyeri on Sunday.

The elders stated that President Uhuru Kenyatta is still the spokesman for Central Kenya and it is too early for anyone else to inherit the role.

This debate is misguided. The basic problem with Kenyan politics is that ethnic groups feel compelled to vote as a bloc. Citizens do not vote according to ideology or policy but according to ethnic solidarity.

 

But this is a form of mental dictatorship. Why should a citizen be pressured to vote for someone because they belong to a certain tribe? That citizen is losing his or her constitutional freedom of thought and expression.

This is not to denigrate Peter Kenneth or the Council of Elders. Kenneth has an outstanding track record and ironically has cross-regional appeal across Kenya. The Council itself has done a wonderful job preserving Kikuyu culture and customs.

Yet Kenyan politics will only be fully liberated when citizens happily and willingly start to vote for leaders of different ethnicities.

Quote of the day: "It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants."

Blaise Pascal
The French philosopher died on August 19, 1662