Kenyans love politics, and hereâ€™s a little math to prove it; the size of the crowds outside the Kenya National Archives and Nakumatt City hall is directly proportional to how close we are to the elections. They seem to be growing by the day.
I cannot say that I have ever joined any of these tight circles, mostly because they are usually made up of men alone. I get the feeling that if I join any of them, the conversation will drum to a stop or turn on me. So instead I walk slowly by and try to catch a word or two. From what Iâ€™ve heard, theyâ€™re not trying to drum up a candidate in the form of a mini-political rally, but rather, they look at the logic behind the politics and in their own way try to work out the better leader; Kenyaâ€™s very own agora.
2007 saw Kenya brought to its knees. Over the last five years, weâ€™ve been struggling to our feet and one sentiment that has been echoed by all of us is that we donâ€™t want to see what happened in 2007/2008 happening ever again.
Peace campaigns have been stepped up throughout the country, by government and NGOs. Weâ€™ve worn the t-shirts, watched the advertisements, attended a peace rally or two; even politicians are doing their part by avoiding inflammatory speeches! One question remains even after all this; will it be enough?
Everyone seems to have gotten the hate speech memo, and so far, politicians are toeing the line. But looking at the past few months, I would say that politicians are no longer the problem that needs to be dealt with. Right now, the greatest threat to our society stares right back at us when we look in the mirror.
Itâ€™s disappointing to see the newsfeed on Facebook that is inflammatory and the talks on tribal based politics. Maybe during the post-election violence you consoled yourself with the thought that you never picked up a stone or wielded a panga, and maybe you would never pick up a stone because youâ€™ve just had a manicure ( guys, its ok. We already know you do it. We forgive you.). Know one thing though; the fate of this country is at the tip of your tongue, your pen, and your keyboard.
One thing has come out clearly in these last few months is that tribalism/hate speech isnâ€™t just a politician thing; it can be any one of us. From mama mboga, to the guy who sells clothes in Ngara and even to that person in their posh office in downtown. They say that the first step is in admitting that we have a problem, which we need to do. Only then can we draft out a workable and permanent solution.