LASTING UNITY AND HARMONY

Building Bridges, for real

We have failed to deal with all the historical injustices that have divided us along tribal lines.

In Summary

• We go at each other without learning from past mistakes, but it is time to face this head on

Building bridges, for real
HANDSHAKE: Building bridges, for real
Image: OZONE

An old lion pretended that he was sick and when other animals came to offer him their sympathy, he ate them up one by one. The fox, standing at a safe distance from the cave, inquired politely after the lion's health.

The lion replied that he was very ill indeed, and asked the fox to step in for a moment. But the fox very wisely stayed outside and said “I have noticed that there are many footprints leading into your cave and none coming out. Pray tell me, how do your visitors find their way out again?"

Kenya has had its share of conflict that has resulted from historical mistakes, which we keep making now and again. And this is because we have failed to deal with all the historical injustices that have divided us along tribal lines.

As President Uhuru Kenyatta said during the State of the Nation address, building a better Kenya is the desire of every Kenyan. However, as the President mentioned, we must be alive to the reality that this noble goal cannot be achieved if we are operating in disharmony.

We have all been here as we went through episodes of conflict as a country mostly pushing communities against each other. At times leading to destruction of property and loss of lives.

As a result of discord among ourselves, we have ended up creating unending animosity that always seems to be triggered by political competition. We go at each other without learning from past mistakes, but it is time to face this head on.

We have all been here as we went through episodes of conflict as a country mostly pushing communities against each other.

Since the handshake, just slightly over a year ago, we have witnessed relative calm devoid of the animosity witnessed during the 2017 election period.

The agenda to ensure we have lasting unity and harmony is an urgent one. We must build on the progress witnessed since the handshake. We have seen political leaders who were going at each other all the time moving past their differences and working together and sharing the same stage.

Unity and harmony create a good environment for the country to focus on other necessary issues such as development. It gives space for all Kenyans to build their lives and the economy without thinking that their next-door neighbour from another tribe is an enemy.

As the President put it, in all our cultures, a handshake is an expression of goodwill, friendship, trust and reconciliation.

We have gone through various hardships in this country because we have remained united at moments of struggle. This happened at Independence. We have seen how this unity has helped us during major disasters such as floods, famine and even terror attacks.

If we can come together in times of trouble, we can definitely come together when we want to build lasting unity and harmony for the sake of our country's future. Learning from our mistakes and working together to secure unity is our key weapon to dealing with all our challenges.

As we speak, the Building Bridges Initiative is engaging Kenyans across the entire country and we all eagerly await their report and recommendations. This is a grand opportunity for our country to rest itself and secure its future.

Like the fox above, we must look at how some of our neighbours have spent decades in conflict and avoid falling into the same trap. And this will not be possible unless we can confront all the issues that have been pushing us towards that direction.

Parliament now has the opportunity to play its role on this journey by honouring the President’s request of a fund to heal the wounds of historical grievances, which have long poisoned our politics and strained communal relations.

The fund’s application into establishing symbols of hope across the country will remind us, and future generations, of the journey taken towards reconciliation and healing.