Constructive Debate and Dialogue is a path to peace in Kenya

By Vera Shawiza / November 2, 2017

Law enforcers must not be permitted to curtail Constitutional Rights

A peaceful country is an economically stable one. Peace is key to the growth if the economy and a prosperity.

Kenya got her independence in 1963. However, the country has had a history of political transition from one-party rule since the early 1990s and a tradition of regular elections.

Since the return of multiparty democracy in the early 90’s Kenya has consistently experienced election-related violence. The 2007 violence was by far the most severe and widespread.

“It pushed the country towards the brink of civil war,” notes Professor Karuti Kanyinga.

“The post-2007 election crisis paved the way for a greater gain: the promulgation of a new constitution. The crisis revealed a number of fundamental weaknesses in Kenya’s political system that required addressing to prevent future conflicts over contestation for political power,” he adds in ‘Kenya Democracy Political Participation.”  

The new constitution entrenches a culture of accountability and includes democracy and people’s participation, the rule of law, inclusiveness, social justice, human rights, and nondiscrimination among the national values and principles of governance that the state and its officials must abide by and respect when applying and interpreting the constitution.

It promises a clear path to democracy. It recognises the sovereignty of the people as the anchor of the nation and provides for participation of the people in decision-making at all levels.

However, events that unfolded in 2013 General elections similarly occurred in 2017.

For instance, there has been no progress towards effective domestic investigations and prosecutions for the crimes allegedly committed. and perpetrators brought to book.

The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission Report, which was released in May 2013, presented yet another opportunity for addressing the serious violations committed in Kenya.

The report had good findings and recommendations on past violations and went as far as naming some of the perpetrators who it recommended for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Since the report’s release, there has been no progress in implementing its recommendations. The only effort made has been for the government and Kenyan legislators to undermine the findings of the report.

Powerful individuals and legislators implicated in the report have made attempts to expunge their names from the report.

The government introduced the National Cohesion and Integration Act (NCI Act) (2008) which directly addresses the problem of ethnic discrimination. The law established an independent National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to facilitate and promote
equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful coexistence among different communities.

Currently, NCIC is carrying out awareness on the importance of maintaining peace despite the high political tension that went to the extent of the August Presidential elections being nullified by the Supreme Court and fresh elections being conducted.

As a country, the leaders that have been chosen by the people, together with their supporters need to keenly analyze the advantages of a peaceful nation.

In an interview with Steve Biko Wafula, CEO Soko Directory Investments, he noted that peace is not feasible in Kenya until we do the following:

Implement the TJRC report, the Ndungu Land Report and prosecute all corruption cases
Apply the rules of law equally to all Kenyans irrespective of one’s financial status
Until we appreciate, value and respect that our women have the right to politics without being harassed
Learn to stop insulting one another at political rallies for the fun of it
Until we appreciate the fact that our diversity is our strength. That our cultures unite us
Until we learn to value, respect and recognize the role played by our institutions established
Until we learn that ill-gotten wealth only makes things worse for the less fortunate in our society
Until we value to respect one Another. Until we learn to stop stereotyping others for
Until we learn to be respect, value and uphold all our laws, whether rich or poor
Until we value justice, truth and reconciliation. Peace is the byproduct of these three

The only way forward in the current political impasse is a constructive debate which needs to focus on solutions which are most likely to be successful and not personal attacks leveled by adversaries against one another.  

Political leaders must separate the people from the problem.  Key decisions must be made on the relative merits of competing problem- solving strategies.  

We should try to frame any contentious issues in ways which transform win-lose confrontations into win-win opportunities.

About Vera Shawiza

Vera Shawiza is Soko Directory’s in-house journalist. Her zealous nature ensures that sufficient and relevant content is generated for the Soko Directory website and sourcing information from clients is easy as smooth sailing. Vera can be reached at: (020) 528 0222 or Email: [email protected]

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