Emerging political violence, insecurity need BBI like intervention
By Selina Chiteri
The moment of truth for the country’s politicians is slowly dawning. With just over a year to the General election, politicians are jostling to align themselves in positions that will get them in the next government, or in the various elective positions. It is about formation of strategic alliances, ditching parties and forming new ones.
But a recent warning from Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i that there are signs of violence in the electioneering period as criminal gangs regroup is worrisome. The CS also fingered bodaboda operators as new enablers of crime and politicians are sponsoring and protecting them to engage in unlawful acts.
Poll violence has become a repetitive affair. It happens every electioneering period since 1992.Seeing its recurrence, it is important that a long-term resolution is adopted to avoid the self-destructive tendency of ethnicised politics. This is the only route for Kenya to spring out of its own shackles of doom and ensure that violence is not an ingredient of every leadership transition. And this where the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) comes in!
Founded on the “Handshake” between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, two leaders from antagonistic political factions, the BBI was out to find a lasting solution for the country by dealing with the issues and concerns that have divided Kenya on, mainly, lines of ethnicity. It was poised to undo political marginalization of regions through inclusivity, national unity and cohesion. The initiative also aimed at quashing the ‘Us versus Them’ narrative that has seemingly divided the country on ethnic lines. It is meant to avert a winner-takes-all system by ensuring that “losers” in a general election have a role in serving the country and their in national development is tapped. This would ensure that no Kenyan left out of the national discourse as has been the case before.
It is an initiative that Kenyans should look at retrospectively as it offers a workable reconciliatory effort that is realistic and guaranteed to building a lasting solution bound in peace for the country. Based on a nine-point agenda, BBI offers solutions to the perennial conflicts experienced in the country, which is again threatening our peaceful co-existence as we approach the 2022 General elections. Politicians are now resorting back to their ethnic enclaves, mobilizing youth for all the wrong reasons and now settling on using motorcycles to instigate violence in different parts of the country.
Even as the country awaits the court process to prevail over the Building Bridges Initiative, and the country’s security chiefs make early preparation to secure the country against any form of violence during the polls, Kenyans must be socialized into peaceful elections and part of this socialization is to understand that the BBI is the pulse that will give the country lasting peace. Being a multi-ethnic society, Kenyans should better comprehend the Initiative’s proposals as it is premised on attaining unity amongst different ethnic groups.
In the meantime, as the country hopefully waits for a referendum, politicians should continually be keen on their public utterances and continually avoid sowing seeds of discord.