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Allow divergent views to end culture of intolerance

Monday, January 18th, 2021 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta receives the BBI report from the taskforce vice chair Adams Oloo at Kisii State Lodge on Wednesday. With them is ODM party leader Raila Odinga. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

The place of liberal democracy, centred on free, fair, credible, transparent and verifiable elections is under threat. 

The collapse of the political order is increasingly spreading to all corners of the world.

It is like the impact of globalisation is taking its toll on citizens of the world.

From Brexit to the recent insurrection at the US Capitol to Uganda and Tanzania and never to be left behind; Kenya where the rise of the political ignorati is worrying.

I conceptualise the political ignorati as this emergent class of super ignorant citizens who suspend their sense of reasoning the moment, a politician takes to podium or in the case of Trump - Twitter, to ‘preach the gospel’ of empty promises. 

 Political and democratic order is collapsing. Not because of lack of institutions, but because of political elites who have refused to address the issues of the citizenry, are dishonourable in their interpretations of public interest issues and take advantage of the vulnerable. 

Political scientists say that deplorable living conditions and the plight of the masses, makes for an interesting playing ground for politicians.

It provides a pool of fairly vulnerable ignoratis who would go to any length of risking their lives for politicians who care less for them. 

The recent experiences of Senator Gideon Moi in Nandi county should not be taken lightly.

If it happened to Gideon in his backyard, at this time, many months before the election, it can only get worse as we move closer to 2022. 

We saw the same ugly act of politicians using the vulnerable youths in Nairobi after counter accusations emerged on who hired or paid which group of youths.

These youths are like marionettes. They are being used because they are vulnerable. 

Our politicians need to allow Kenyans to listen to what they have to offer, unless they have nothing.

I would love to have the hustler nation in Suna East, at Migori stadium and hear their leader sell his agenda for this country without telling us to vote for him because we are poor and that he was once poor. 

You see, boda boda riders, car- wash guys in my native Suna East and mama mbogas in all corners of this country, don’t want be rallied to vote in a particular way because they are poor.

They want to listen to leaders speak to the gap between the rich and the poor and articulate what they will do to migrate the mama mbogas to big grocery stores, that buy from progressive farmers looking for ready market for their produce. 

The car wash folks in different parts of the country are not interested in freebies; they want to listen to leaders articulate an agenda, that will transform their business from some rivulet or water tank car wash ventures, to large, automated ventures that will change their lives. 

It is the same with folks in Uasin Gishu, Nyeri and Kilifi, who would want the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) leadership team take them through BBI and how the creation of the office of the Prime Minister and the leader of Official Opposition, are elective and that in these positions, we have both the distribution of power and a robust oversight mechanism in the interest of the public. 

To remind Kenyans that the creation of the office of the Opposition leader, means that aspirations of the people, who vote for the losing presidential candidate will be taken care of in two ways: through the increase in the devolved resources and most importantly through the leader of official Opposition whose office and clout in Parliament will robustly oversight the government of the day.  

The public is better off with robust articulation of issues presented by both sides and  key political players need to arrest this culture of political violence and intolerance.

They need to speak in one voice against it and make a commitment to issue based politics and allow divergent opinions. [email protected]

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