9 June 2012

Kenya: Raila Urges Peaceful Campaigns

Naivasha, Kenya — Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for mature, issue-based politics in the run-up to the general elections to avoid actions that might arouse ethnic tensions likely to spark violence as witnessed in the 2007 polls.

Addressing a public rally at Karuturi stadium in Naivasha - one of the hostspots of the infamous 2007 post election violence, Odinga challenged politicians to tone down ethnic rhetoric for the sake of national unity.

"As we move towards the general elections, we must do everything possible to avoid politics of hostile ethnic polarisation that lead to clashes similar to what the country witnessed in the previous election," he said.

The PM said that the government was working out mechanisms that will render election violence a thing of the past.

He also urged Kenyans to play their part to ensure the country does not slip into the culture of hate and violence.

"Kenyans have a responsibility to encourage ideology based politics that will provide a chance to children to grown up in a peaceful society where people respect and love each other," he said.

The Premier said time has come when Kenyans must say a firm no to the shameless and cheap propaganda and hate speech that have no room in the democracy that the country craves for.

"This will be achieved when Kenyans reject the captains of hate and injustice," he said.

Odinga also told Kenyans to condemn ethnic-based political alliances that are emerging in the run -up to the general elections.

He said that the nature of tribal groupings like Gema and Kamatusa was very patronizing as it smacked of hegemony by those who champion such outfits.

"These tribal groupings are retrogressive because they are going against the spirit of national unity and could polarize the country into tribal fiefdoms," Odinga said.

Regional Development minister Fred Gumo cautioned Kenyans against electing leaders based on tribal considerations.

"The electorate should avoid such pitfalls because good leaders should have certain qualities able to transform the society," he said.

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