Every Kenyan can do itBy RAY NALUYAGA | Friday, June 1 2012 at 13:13
On Thursday as Kenya marked the 10th anniversary since inception of national prayers day, speakers at the event insisted at nothing but peaceful elections.
Tentatively slated for March 4 next year, many including the country’s security organs, fear what happened in 2007 could happen again.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga warned of possible violence ahead of the next General Election and pleaded with the political class to "cool" the temperatures to stop it from ‘overheating’ along ethnic lines.
During the Prime Minister’s Question Time recently, Raila said the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) had already warned of rising ethnic tensions caused by the utterances of the leaders.
“NSIS has warned that mobilisation by the political elite in order to advance personal and community interests to the exclusion of other sections of the Kenyan community is posing a threat to national cohesion and security,” he said.
Speaking to mark the day, President Mwai Kibaki called on Kenyans to present to God challenges facing the nation.
“There are many challenges before us, especially security related, negative ethnicity, corruption and diseases. It is within the power of each and every one of us to fight these vices,” he said.
The President’s call could not have come at a better time. Just recently, a bomb exploded at the heart of Nairobi, injuring over 30 people (one has since died) regardless of their ethnic back ground.
The fact that the tragic event, which preliminary investigations suggested was the work of Al-Shabaab militants, did not injure along ethnic lines, should be treated by Kenyans as a cause to unite the nation.
While Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda threats and bombings of civilian targets will continue to be around for a foreseeable future, Kenyans have no room whatsoever to unite with these terrorist groups in killing their own during elections.
Needless to say here, the impacts of what happened in 2007 are continuing to haunt the nation today in all fronts, economically, politically and socially.
Instead of putting yet another burden on the overwhelmed shoulders of the East African economic giant on cheap politics built along ethnic lines, Kenyans should know better that this only kills the prosperity of the nation for the benefit of all.
Kibaki’s call to those seeking political offices to engage in peaceful campaigns and exercise tolerance to different opinions is a starting point in reversing political overheating along ethnic lines as warned by NSIS.
To lay emphasis on the fact that the Thursday’s national prayers day was the beginning of the end to Kenya’s politics of hate, Anglican Arch-Bishop Eliud Wabukala’s words took this direction off the ground.
“Just like the Israelites, we must know that we have choices to make and it is all about life and death; between a blessing and a curse,” he said.
He said the shape of the country’s politics showed much remained to be done to avoid a repeat of the post-election violence.
Kenyans must now understand that the country was at war, and nothing could make it realise victory against Al-Shabaab than a united citizenry.
It would be a great shame if anyone, going by the excuse of politics, chose to become a terrorist against his own country and its people by allying with Al-Shabaab in shedding innocent blood as desperately sought by the militants.
Let it be known that those propagating negative ethnicity can only do so under the united Kenya. With a fragmented nation, there would neither be this nor that tribe.
Kenyans have a reason to be united now than ever before to defeat, not only Al-Shabaab, but also to show the world that what happened in 2007 was not Kenyan.
The people of Kenya have a reason to be united now more than any other time to prove to the world that they were politically mature by holding peaceful democratic elections based on the new constitution.
It is within the power of every Kenyan to fight these vices.
Ray Naluyaga is a Tanzanian journalist currently based in Nairobi, Kenya (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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