“Live and let live; collective sharing; common concern for one another; sense of belonging together; social justice; economic progress and viability for all; and the African indigenous political process of participatory democracy.” – Onwuachi, 1977:16.
This statement is derived from the African indigenous principles where African humanitarian involves spiritual communalism. Africans have long believed that each person is endowed with dignity and that human life is sacred.
One of the greatest challenges to peace in the world has been the spread of conflicts rooted in national, ethnic (tribal), racial, and religious differences.
As we approach the general elections set for August, there is a lot of tension in the country. This is expected in any elective year all across the world because of the changes that will inevitably occur after a nation has cast the ballot. This tension in Kenya could serve as a reminder of the violence that shook the country in 2007-2008 where more than 1000 people died and half a million people were displaced. Tribalism was considered the main cause of dividing our country during this period.
Currently, the youth have felt neglected and hopeless because of the challenges they are facing with the high unemployment rates and an increase in the cost of living in the country. This makes them vulnerable and they can easily be incited by politicians or those in power as they are not being engaged and hence have a lack of connection to do the right thing.
What we should remember as we approach the general elections is, despite the challenges we are facing, we are one nation, one people. We are all struggling in our own ways and being incited to cause violence will not increase the countries employment rate by 99% nor will the cost of living reduce. In fact, war and violence leads a country to start all over again. As seen in 2007, the economic growth of the country dropped from 7.1% in 2007 to 2.5% in 2008. It took quite a long time before the country stabilised.
In our neighbourhoods, we live together as one community. Mama Atieno will buy skuma wiki from Mama Njeri, Naserian will sell meet to Kwamboka while Mwenda will buy bread from Nafula. What this simply means is we do not choose whom to buy or sell goods from, so why should we look at things in a different perspective, especially our ethnicity, when it comes to politics? We drive our own economy.
Politicians are great, but we as a people of this country are much greater. We have the power to decide whom we should choose and they should not incite us because of our ethnicity or social status. When we cause chaos in our country, the politicians will sit in their comfortable homes watching us kill each other. In the end, we are the ones who will suffer and not them. We are the ones who will increase the rate of unemployment in the country while they have jobs that we gave them when we voted for them for their respective public office jobs. The reality is, they need us to put them in office. Therefore, politicians should remember having a government position office is a duty for them to lead diligently and not oppress the people who voted for them.
As Kenyans, over the years we have become more aware of our human rights. Our country has gone through several democratic levels from a one party state to a multi-party state, among other achievements. We can choose to have a peaceful general election by not allowing politicians to incite us. We should also seek truth form all political aspirants and make our own decisions based on their manifestos and not their ethnic background or party. We should also remember that everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, has a right to vote for whomever they see fit for public office.
So, as we approach the general election, let us remember to be maintain peace because this is our country, this is our home. There is no-where else we can go and continue with our lives without feeling foreign or unwanted. Ethnic backgrounds should not be a reason to cause chaos because our last name is not an assurance of employment or reduced living standards. We are a tribeless people. Let us vote peace.