Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Register As Voters and Chart Your Destiny, Dear Kenyans

opinion

When I see children out of school at a critical final examinations period, communities fleeing their homes during a crucial countrywide voter registration process, which, needless to say, is already on a tight schedule, choppers hovering over our heads looking for bodies of committed police officers mercilessly killed in the line of duty, then clearly, something is offensively wrong.

But even worse and most absurd, is the fact that amid all this troublesome happenings, some politicians, their political experience and honorable status notwithstanding, are busy inciting an already fragile, angry and sad society.

A fragile society because of the security threats already in sight, angry because of the frequent grenade attacks, sad because search for bodies of innocent police officers slaughtered in broad daylight is incomplete and neither are all families of the fallen heroes and heroines officially notified of the misfortune that befell their kin.

There is inescapable need, and dutifully so, for decisive action to be taken against anybody irrespective of their social or political status, who, even in the smallest way, disrupts or attempts to interfere with the peaceful co-existence of the Kenyan people.

But Kenya, I sadly submit, is an unlucky country. It is one of the few countries where cabinet ministers, their assistants or other senior State officers, people in whose hands Kenyans have entrusted their lives, can openly incite citizens into violence and get away with it.

It is the only country where a senior member of a political party commits crime and his party leader or sympathisers looks at it, public outcry over it notwithstanding, calls it a malicious allegation, and goes ahead to even promote the offender or just leaves him untouched.

Without the slightest element of bias, it was commendable for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to openly condemn his otherwise loyal supporter Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu when he was accused of incitement and demanded an immediate apology from him.

Without doubt, this is the direction this country needs taken, creating a culture where people take responsibility for their own actions and even worse, suffer the consequences that come with such offenses.

Clearly, an action by politicians whose effects includes loss of life, displacement of populations as is currently happening in Suguta valley cannot be 'privileged crime' that attracts no form of punishment or responsibility. There is no privileged crime in the first place.

As a matter of urgency, state agencies not only need to properly equip the police force, but also boost their morale and enhance capacity.

It is ok to send the army to Suguta to deal with a situation that can easily get out of hand, but what message does the move send about our police force?

How is it that the police cannot effectively deal with the uprising without asking for military support in the first place? If similar violence were to occur in five or more regions of the country at the same time considering the security threat by the Al Shabaab and the Mombasa Republican Council among others would our security agencies effectively cope with the challenge?

These are the loop holes the government must immediately deal with before the situation gets nastier.

But even as we put pressure on the government, we must, at the same time condemn these acts of lawlessness including the demonic incitement by sections of politicians with the strongest terms possible.

We must tell them with utter precision possibly even through the power of the ballot that they belong to jail, not in public offices.

This is why Kenyans must register as eligible voters in big numbers. If this coalition government cannot deal with such criminals now, Kenyans can use the power of the vote to put in place a leadership that will tell such criminals in a few months time that, 'Look, time for incitement and impunity just ended. It's now time for you to take responsibility for all these atrocities you caused innocent citizens of this country directly or indirectly.'

It must be understood by all Kenyans that peace is absolutely essential for any county to prosper. Without it, everyone inevitably becomes a victim and the nation collapses.

It is in our own best interest to refuse to be used to turn against our own brothers and sisters with whom we share different forms of relationships socially, economically and even politically. It happened in 2007 elections and undoubtedly, none of us wants to be reminded of the repercussions thereof.

Peace is not just necessary, it is also beneficial because without it, we shall all be destroyed, grieve and will inevitably lose life. Let's live and let live. Fellow Kenyans, it's a thing we can do, it's a muscle we have not lost.

(The writer is the Director of Communications of The National Alliance, TNA. waikenda@tna.co.ke )

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