What you need to know:
- The current state of affairs, where the security agencies seem to have given up or are absent, is a recipe for violence.
Of late, we have witnessed in our country two three nasty events in relation to political intolerance and violence: Two attempts at disrupting political rallies — one at Githurai and the other at Burma Market, both in Nairobi, and a fistfight at the burial of the Kisii deputy governor’s father.
We seem to have accepted the matatu and boda boda subcultures as a way of life, where the rule of law doesn’t seem to exist. One wonders who is in control of situations like crowds or roads.
The current state of affairs, where the security agencies seem to have given up or are absent, is a recipe for violence.
It’s hoped that we learnt enough lessons from the 2007/2008 politically instigated violence and its attendant mass killings and maiming of citizens, widespread displacements and wanton destruction of property that almost brought the economy to its knees.
I fear that, if this trend is not checked soon, by the time we reach the peak of electioneering in 2022, the system will be overwhelmed. We will end up with unpleasant consequences in terms of loss of life and destruction of property and creating a general atmosphere of lawlessness and insecurity. As a nation, we cannot afford that!
The unfolding scenario needs to be nipped in the bud, not only through the efforts of the national security apparatus but also the various judicial mechanisms and cooperation of all leaders.
Active involvement of wananchi in general, through civic education to uphold the tenets of democracy and promotion of civic rights, is very important. A well-informed citizenry will act in a civilised manner to express their opinions; otherwise, ignorance is an easy ingredient when it comes to promotion of violence.
To curb violence, tolerance and abuse of human rights, the role of civil rights activists cannot be gainsaid. Among the many elements that can come handy at this time of active political activism is intervention of religious leaders. The clergy ought to come out to preach peace and love in all aspects of life. Sadly, this aspect seems to be missing so far.
Of late, we have witnessed speeches that were quite toxic being delivered in the holy places of worship, where the clerics sat calmly listening!
The clergy should take a firm stand to regulate speeches in their churches, temples, synagogues or mosques, and at funeral services, when politicians visit the places of worship or even during fundraisers. In the name of truth, justice and love of God, it’s the high time you acted.
There is talk of Parliament making laws to curb hate speech. But that is a waste of time and money. It could also end up as a way of limiting the fundamental freedom of expression,hence becoming unconstitutional.
Let the MPs watch out, lest they make laws that will haunt them.
Fr Pascal Kinoti (SVD), Nairobi