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Civility in Kenyan Politics; Let’s Do Away With Hate and Other Nasty, Destructive Habits

22 Dec

kenya map

A few days ago, I was at the Serena meeting with a friend and business associate. Sitting not too far from our table were five gentlemen, one kept looking at me as though he wanted to say hello or something and this went on for some time but nothing was exchanged.

The person did not look any familiar to me at all but it was clear by the way he kept looking at yours truly he either knew me or was confusing me with someone he knows, which is not unusual.

My friend not being from Kenya, I did not even bother asking him whether he knew the man or anyone at that other table so, curious, I got up and went over to their table and said hi to the gentleman along with the rest of his friends at which point he immediately exclaimed, “you’re Samuel Omwenga, are you not?”

I replied in the affirmative and his next thing he says is, “you should stop beating on us” at which point I immediately knew it had to do with politics so I pressed on, “what do you mean beating on you?

He looked at me as though saying, “you should know people!”

I still had no idea who the man was, even though he had just mentioned his name.

We then went on to have a very good conversation, I assuming he belongs to the opposition (though not sure what candidate) but we talked in general terms about politics and how we should, no matter who vies, that we should have clean, peaceful, open and transparent elections.

Certainly nothing even remotely close to what we experienced in 2007.

This is my message I share with every opposition candidate I run into or know and I think if we are all committed to this simple edict, then it should all be alright regardless of who vies or wins.

After briefly chatting with this gentleman and his colleagues, one who turned out to be some land broker from coast (they had maps sprawled all over the table), I excused myself and returned to my table.

A short-while later that evening, I was meeting with several of my friends at a popular hang-out so I asked one of them whether he knew who this person was.

I am bad with names so I had to scroll down my phone book to juggle my memory and found it to which my friend responded by laughing, asking me how I could not know the man?

I confessed I didn’t know him, even though throughout our brief chat I gave him the impression I knew who he was but I am good at doing things like that especially in the presence of someone who clearly knows who I am for it’ll be rude to do anything otherwise.

The trick is to keep it short lest it becomes obvious you have no clue who the person is and that can be annoying (to them) and embarrassing to the clueless.

Anyway, it turns out this gentleman is not only a msheshimiwa from the House of Mumbi, he’s a top and close confidant of Uhuru.

I write about this not because of that simple fact; I know and have actually had chats with other presidential candidates and have blogged as being good friends to a close adviser to one of them so that in by itself is not usual neither is it worth noting.

Why I found this particular experience worth noting is how civil and quite frankly very brotherly the exchange was between yours truly and clearly someone who has not been happy in what I have written about his preferred candidate.

It also happened we met after my Star article Assessing Political Coalitions of 2013 Election Season in which I provided an objective analysis and concluded Raila’s coalition is the one which will carry the day come 2013 and I am basically half-way there in being vindicated, the so-called Jubilee alliance having already crumbled.

In a soon to be published blog, I’ll explain more why this is the case.

Back to this gentlemen I met who despite being in opposite sides on matters politics, we still had a very cordial, gentleman discussion and parted friends as we exchanged numbers and promised to keep in touch.

Contrast that with the vile, vulgar and hateful exchanges one witnesses against especially yours truly from people who support this very same candidate and you can sense what’s wrong with that picture.

Those obsessed with name calling, smearing and other evil deeds merely because they disagree politically are the immature, useless brutes they are adding no value to the national discourse.

Indeed, I have often blogged that these very same presidential candidates are at the end of the day friends and confer amicably even as their brainless supporters are engaged in name calling, smearing and hate speech in their behalf whilst they are laughing and even many times breaking bread together as they pursue whatever objectives they have.

Indeed, I once said Uhuru will endorse Raila and people thought I was kidding.

I was not.

My point is, let’s engage in politics as vigorously and even aggressively as we can but never forget at the end of the day, it’s all politics and nothing worth the hate, name calling and smears people resort to when incapable of debating or even withstanding what other say they may disagree.

Or to be more precise, let’s be civil and courteous to one another even as we disagree and certainly let’s not have or leave any room for hate in so being engaged in politics for hate will take you nowhere but down.

I am proud to say I hate nobody even those who hate me I don’t hate them back.

I forgive them and extend a hand of friendship always agree or disagree as we may.

This latest friend I met and UK advisor is just but one such example of civilized, mature people who understand we can disagree but no need to hate each other or otherwise be evil and mean to one another merely for disagreeing politically.

In fact I told him I have nothing personal against Uhuru I just state my political case against his and that’s the way it should be.

I believe if we all first learn to love another another as Kenyans, add to that an unequivocal love for our country, then everything becomes very easy to deal with and that includes even areas where we may strongly disagree such as who should be our next president.

Again, the key and message in this blog is let’s remove all hate from our political discourse and culture as a whole for that’s for the most backward of the human species which no one can make a case they are and if they try to, take a moment to tell them it’s not worth it.

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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Politics

 

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