Pokot elders ask community to stop attacks on elected leaders

From left: West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio, Pokot Council of Elders Council secretary Solomon Mukenion and West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo at Murkwijit area in a past function.

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

The Pokot Council of Elders has urged residents to respect the current elected leaders and give them time to deliver on their promises even as the August elections draw near.

The elders said they are disturbed by the abuses being hurled at leaders, lamenting that this has raised political temperatures and derailed development.

They are particularly concerned about the use of social media by young people to abuse leaders, saying they were corroding civil discourse and reinforcing prejudices by making public conversations more difficult. 

Council secretary Solomon Mukenion said residents should show respect for leaders and avoid insulting them.

“All of us have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet," he said. "One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases,” he said.

He also urged leaders to exercise caution on their social media sites, citing Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram as the most abused internet spaces.   

"The question has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows for a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn't [divide] our society but rather continues ways to find common ground," he said.

The elders urged West Pokot residents to exercise tolerance, saying the coming election will be a good opportunity for voters to show non-performing leaders the doors.

“The only way to deal with a politician is on the ballot. August 9 is not very far,” Mr Mukenion said.

He also urged all elected and opinion leaders to respect each other and engage in meaningful development.

Speaking in Kapenguria on Monday, the elder said the region was marginalised for a long time and the only way to make progress is for residents to support elected leaders in their development initiatives.

“Leadership comes from God. Let every resident respect leaders, give them time to do development because unity always brings more development,” he said.

He also challenged leaders in the region to work with the government to bring more resources to the grassroots. “We want to improve the lives of residents who are languishing in abject poverty,” he said.

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