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News
Date:22 May 2017
Making Kenya elections Issues-based Instead of tribalism

Kenyans go to the polls in August 8. Ethnicity and tribalism have played powerful roles in previous elections, which will be a decisive factor in the upcoming elections. Pundits say the politicians beat the drum while Kenyans dance to the tune.

Politics in Kenya has been characterized by ethnic tensions since independence in 1963. 2008 saw the demons of tribalism and ethnicity flare up after the disputed elections which left thousands of people dead and displaced.

The clash between the largest ethnic groups, the Kikuyus, Luos and Kalenjins, erupted following the declaration of Mwai Kibaki from the Kikuyu community as president despite accusations of rigging and electoral manipulation.

Ethnicity has never wholly been the challenge in Kenyan politics, the problem arises when politicians use it for their personal interests to create a divide which breeds tribalism.

Towards national reconciliation

Several attempts to kill the scourge of tribalism has not been easy. Commissions have been formed, songs composed, and wars fought. The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission was formed in 2008 after the 2007 post-election violence. Its report concluded that ethnic conflicts stemmed mostly from land inequality and regional imbalances.

A second commission, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission is still working on ending the divisions between Kenyans. Its core function is to address economic equality and opportunities for all, regardless of tribal affiliations.

Towards the future

Pundits have warned that Kenya is on a wrong track in the run-up to the August 8 elections. The recent alliances does nothing to reflect a change in past politics. The Jubilee Alliance of the incumbent president and deputy president is backed by the Kikuyus and the Kalenjins.

The opposition NASA alliance is no different. It is a union of tribes led by Raila Odinga (A Luo), Moses Wetangula (A Luhya), and Kalonzo Musyoka (A Kamba).

Ultimately, the elections will be decided based on personalities since elections have never been based on issues, ideologies or principles.

Source: The Election Network (Read Full Article here)
 


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