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RISING POLITICAL TEMPERATURES

Let's tread carefully lest we plunge the country into mayhem

Of concern are the utterances and unhealthy machinations from the political class.

In Summary

• The youthful generation has been and continues to be the conduit through which politicians take advantage to utilise for self-gain. 

• Post-Covid-19 mitigation measures in terms of revitalising the economy, opening up of our learning institutions, creating job opportunities should be the focus.

The scene outside the AIPCA Church in Kenol, Murang'a where violence was witnessed on on October 4, 2020.
The scene outside the AIPCA Church in Kenol, Murang'a where violence was witnessed on on October 4, 2020.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

The campaign and electioneering periods in Kenya have always occasioned violence, destruction of property, ethnic profiling of communities, circulation of hatred and threatening messages.

The sad effects of the disputed 2007 general election and its subsequent violent post-election crisis resulted in immense social-economic setbacks.

To these effects, a lot of unnecessary killings, intimidation, humiliation, looting, raping and gross human right violation aggravated the social stability in the country.

These memories and the unhealed scars are still fresh in the minds of a sizeable population, with a generational age (youthful) gap challenge that appears not to have either fully witnessed or felt the aftermath of election(s) violence and previous ethnic clashes in the history of the country.

Though Kenya was able to secure a new constitution in 2010, and though the 2013 general election was by and large peaceful it was also very tense particularly due to the petition lodged by the CORD coalition against the results of the presidential elections.

The year 2016 /17 witnessed violent protests around the question of the IEBC.

In the history of Africa, the 2017 Presidential Election was the first where the Supreme Court nullified the results.

A repeat of the Presidential election polarised the entire nation, leading to unprecedented demos and counter demos, economic boycotts and sabotage.

With two years remaining to the next general election, the country seems to be already in full top gear campaign mood, alignments are fast taking shape and politicians are traversing the country with the gospel of 2022 succession, the yet to be released BBI report and referendum, the have and not have narration.

Of concern are the utterances and unhealthy machinations from the political class and our leaders; that are now openly divisive, tribal and fast planting seeds of hatred, violence and deaths.

The legislatures have a constitutional mandate of representation and thus the electorate's trust, believe and look upon them for direction and guidance; if they advance messages of peace, unity and cohesion, the citizens will out rightly follow, if they advance messages of animosity, tribalism and violence, die-hards and followers equally adopt and put into exercise.

The economy is gradually returning into normalcy, with the effects of Covid-19 having resulted in massive job loss and redundancies, a majority of those affected being the Youth.

This is a vulnerable group, not all have been able to be absorbed by the government through the Kazi Mtaani initiative; a majority still remain idle, desperate and unable to sustain their livelihood.

The youthful generation has been and continues to be the conduit through which politicians take advantage to utilise for self-gain.

It is a challenge to our political class; let us avoid double standards; let us stop preaching water while taking wine; in the broad daylight our leaders appear to be preaching peace unity and love; at night the message is the reverse including mobilising and funding these youths to unleash terror and mayhem against each other at the expense of the innocent citizenry.

Post-Covid-19 mitigation measures in terms of revitalising the economy, opening up of our learning institutions, creating job opportunities for the more than one million Kenyans that lost employment should be the focus.

Issue-based politics and tolerance should start being the norm.

Accountability and collective approach by our leaders across the divide led by the churches is bound to ease the current political tension, and avoid plunging the country into violence.

Equally the government through the mandated commission(s) as such NCIC, agencies and ministries must not exercise double standards when dealing with hate speech mongers and perpetrators of violence; fake news, propaganda and incitement through social media platforms must be checked and tamed for the sake of a united nation.

The writer is the Founder- Integrated Development Network

Email: [email protected]