BWIRE: It’s time for an honest national dialogue about Kenya


Mfangano
Mfangano Street, Nairobi. [Photo/Courtesy]

By Victor Bwire

Leaders across the political divide are each at and with each other. Few are willing to invest in honest discussions and dialogue over nay national issues rather it’s ,what is in it for me. Nobody is listening to anybody and the voice of reason has been drowned.

Just as it has always been in the country ahead of a general election, a stage is being set for a divisive electioneering, without reference to the many challenges facing Kenyans including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just like we have failed to acknowledge that our past dirty and individual centered politics have led us to where we are, we still hold onto the thinking that its either my idea or no idea at all that will help the country move in the desired direction.

We need an honest national dialogue, aware that we have all contributed to the problems facing the country today. These notions of equity and equality, winner takes it all, win-win interventions, one man one shilling among other slogans are just empty words, that have no bearing to Kenya, without a honesty relook at how past sins of omission or commission led us to where we are.

The politics of its either me or you looks outdated and unsuitable to Kenya. How is the current political goodwill favoring development for Kenyans including implementation of the remaining bits of the Constitution?

The conditions being witnessed especially from various leaders and manner of handling national issues point to a country that needs national healing and reconciliation. A nation easily breaks into anarchy, when extreme positions are taken on national issues, and the general public loses patience and direction, and start vomiting such dangerous and poisonous words as currently being spewed online and via the media.

Political extremism that has been the bane of our development is still the hallmark of our way of doing things and as political leaders across parties and movements are throwing salvos at each other Kenyans are cheering on.

The top leadership of the ruling party believes you are either with us or against us on matters national importance and legacy, a faction in the party opposes anything that does not support their ascendancy to power in 2022, the main opposition party wants a national referendum at all costs believing it will sort out all the ills facing the country, a few of other political party leaders are not sure what they want for the country while some believe its this confusion that will give them a lifeline as it has always done and Kenyans are cheering them on.

I hope that current conversations across the political processes and frustrations could get leadership and be turned into an opportunity to call for national dialogue over the challenges facing the country. Why cant our leaders convene and talk to each other, while players like the religious leaders, Law Society of Kenya, civil society and media push a national conference to relook at the direction the country is taking.

Looking at what is happening in Parliament and Senate, it seems politicians within the current dispensation will drive the country into abyss.

While honesty is rarely a virtue associated with those in leadership positions, it seems it might just be the thing that will help Kenya deal with the historical injustices beholding us today. Attempts to close our eyes and ears to the outcomes of the failed implementation of the truth justice and reconciliation commission, and hope that miracles will happen to help the country face its past, present and future and do justice to her citizens is a futuristic investment with no beneficial end game for Kenyans.

As we work on emerging the cheering of the political feuds in the country and creating a stage for extremism on the political front, other people including public officers and civil servants, the private sector, religious leaders and professionals are being drawn into the cast.

Consultations seem to have been abandoned even on public issues with constitutional institutions mandated to do or advice government on expert matters being ignored, quick fixes being sought on complex public issues and a few people making appear their personal interests are synonymous with citizens’ interests.

The rest of us seem to be minding our business, chasing deals up to the oceans pre-occupied with buying including forests and cemeteries for land, junks for imported cars and dangerously assembled locks for houses, lest aware that the politicians are driving the country to the brink.

The chaos that will erupt will not allow you enjoy these temporary acquired material things. We must be concerned and get involved in the pushing for a national conference to audit where as a country we have come from and heading to honestly and sincerely.

Victor Bwire works at the Media Council of Kenya (vicbwire@gmail.com)

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