March 14, 2013
In 2007, Kenyans went to the polls full of hope and joy expecting the best out of it, but it was unfortunate that the outcome was disputed. This led to bloodshed and a lot of lives were lost, many were rendered homeless while many lost their loved ones because of something that could have been avoided. Tribes fought against tribes and tribal animosity filled the air, hatred and enemity defined Kenya and to this moment Kenyans are yet to recover from that violence.
The world watched as our country went up in smoke and at the end of the day we were the ones who got hurt by our actions. We suffered the consequences to which most of us are still paying either in terms of pain, loss, or instability. With 42 tribes in Kenya, what our country needs is unity. If we are to fight against one another, we would divide our country into 42 small pieces with which we cannot do anything with. Our biggest take out from the 2007 post-election violence is that we need to unite just like the leaders who make us fight. Our families suffered but theirs were not affected in any way. Our unity therefore is paramount to our survival and we need to nurture and understand its importance.
Our Lord Jesus left us peace and he gave that to us abundantly, we should therefore ensure that we are at peace with one another, love our neighbours just like we do love ourselves. Peace is all about having justice and righteousness; ensuring that each and everyone gets justice and that whatever is done, is done in a righteous manner. So as Kenyans went to the polls on 4th March I have only prayed for nothing more that peace. We are one country with a common goal and we should all live in harmony despite our 42 different backgrounds. Just like our leaders laugh and dine together so is the spirit we should adopt and learn to work in cohesion. We get carried away at their politics and we fight and kill each other while they remain friends who later form coalitions. This is the one lesson that we should have in our minds if not anything else. Our leaders wine and dine as we fight and kill each other because of them, why can’t we be like them? Have different opinions, but still remain friends and respect each other’s opinions.
God has called us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. One thing I tell myself quite often is that God knew how hard we would find this commandment to be and hence the reason he made it one. If you wouldn’t like something to be done unto you, then it’s only fair that you don’t do it on another person. Think about how unstable we became after post-election violence, we had and still have so many internally displaced persons, others couldn’t find a place in the IDPS camps and up to now they are still homeless. People living with HIV were displaced and had to go off their drugs as they couldn’t access them easily as they were used to. This not only makes one loose hope but it can send them to their grave early. HIV/AIDS call for adherence and the moment that fails the patient’s body starts gaining resistance. We should always think about the consequences of a country that is at war, we should think of the things that affect us and our neighbours regardless of whom they are and where they come from. It is for this reason that I urge you my fellow Kenyans to vote peacefully and learn from the best; our leaders.
Another lesson learnt from the 2007 violence, is that our economy also suffered a blow as no businesses could be opened in fear of them being destroyed, this not only made us unproductive but it also held back our economy. Our children could not go to school and the sick and the wounded could not access hospitals. Transport was also paralyzed and not even the doctors could make it to work. The roads were impassable and hence the whole country was in an idle state of mind. We sure do not want to go back here, we want to have our jobs and have our children go to school as is the norm. We want to wake up in the morning with freedom of movement; we want to celebrate the winning of one candidate regardless of their tribe because he/she won. We want to know that Kenyans have democracy hence can accommodate one another even with different opinions. We want to be sure that those with chronic illnesses are well catered for and are assisted as per their wish and finally we want to know that peace love and unity can prevail in Kenya.
The one elephant in the room that we need to confront is tribalism; we need to stop looking at each other on tribal lines. We need to start looking at ourselves as one tribe of Kenya and stop looking at our individual tribes because just like I said earlier, we are all working towards a common goal. I have been observing keenly what some of the political analysts have been saying about the ongoing campaigns, and one of them said that we Kenyans vote on tribal lines. This statement has a lot of truth in it and may be that is something we cannot change for now, but how about striking a balance; vote for whoever you think is the right candidate and let your neighbor too exercise his/her democratic right and after which we wait for the best candidate to win. This is not only maturity of democracy but it is the love, the peace and the unity I am talking about. We are all from different tribes but can we let our different opinions prevail peacefully? Yes we can!