Rick Warren, an American Evangelical Christian author couldn’t have captured the mood in Kenya better when he made this statement, even though it was not intended for a Kenyan audience, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
In Kenya today, people hate (probably fear) each other and are ready to kill each other over difference in political opinion. Worse still, Kenyans will agree with their political leaders even when they are out-rightly wrong because they love them. They feel, they owe them loyalty. This is absolute nonsense.
CORD’s IEBC protests are getting uglier by the day with reports of increased police brutality. The people suffering the most are women and children who unfortunately, are not directly involved in these demos. You would therefore expect that for the sake of our humanity majority Kenyans would at least condemn the excessive use of force even as they demand that CORD seek to follow the rule of law. But no, some are going as far as justifying those killed.
John Githongo the former anti-graft czar speaking at a conference on Integrity this week reasoned that culture is the foundation of a nation and further suggested that we have drafted enough laws, we must now go back to our cultures. His reasoning is echoed by former presidential candidate Martha Karua who argued in the same conference that the problem in Kenya was not lack of laws but enforcing them.
Picking from their argument and putting Rick Warren’s quote into context, we can safely assume that, we are cultured to engage in public theft, insult those we disagree with and be dishonest with each other for as long as our political leaders believe in these vices.
Where laws exist but can’t help, you expect institutions such as the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) to fill these gaps. Sadly, the recommendations TJRC made are gathering dust somewhere despite promises by the President that it will be implemented.
While Kenyans are breathing fire against each other on social media over the IEBC demos – as we have been cultured – you would expect that an institution like the Directorate of National Cohesion and National Values whose mandate is among other things, “to promote healing and reconciliation” would take seriously the flaring tempers we are witnessing in social media and among our leaders.
Already, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, sensationally claimed that, “Police should have killed more..” as reported by local media based on his Facebook post. While Kuria asked opposition to ask the “four dead fools from Siaya and Kisumu to wake up and go home.” CORD on the other hand were also making sensational claims that the police were targeting Luos.
These reckless statements is what got us to the Post Election Violence (PEV) witnessed in 2007/2008. Sadly, the instigators of these violent activities are never hurt in the process. Neither Moses Kuria nor CORD leaders were directly harmed in the chaos and perhaps that’s why they have no qualms pitting Kenyans against each other.
While the sober ones among us question where we got the culture of violence and disregard for the law, some wonder what became of Ole Kaparo’s National Cohesion and Intergration Commission?
Firstly that we have two bodies performing similar functions is a Tax payer debate for another day. But shouldn’t they be running serious campaigns against the negative political temperatures? Shouldn’t they be making examples of politicians with reckless and emotional statements to help the commoner calm down?
As Parliament hammers out a deal to resolve the IEBC impasse, it’s about time we looked at the work of the NCIC. Their inability to stem out the culture of hate over different political ideologies, destruction of property whenever aggrieved or the constant insults wanainchi hurl towards those they disagree with for the sake of wenyenchi is reason enough to call them out on this.