Na­tional di­a­logue only way to re­solve im­passe

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - OPINION -

Po­lit­i­cal heat seems to have cooled down in the wake of the pe­ti­tions filed at the Supreme Court chal­leng­ing Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s elec­tion last month. But em­bers are smoul­der­ing un­der­neath the hearth­stone. The coun­try re­mains in a state of paral­y­sis aris­ing from the po­larised and ran­corous pol­i­tics.

It is in recog­ni­tion of this la­tent heat that the Catholic Church and now po­lit­i­cal par­ties are be­gin­ning to ac­knowl­edge and pur­pose to con­front the ugly re­al­ity fac­ing the na­tion.

Catholic bish­ops have re­solved to spear­head a na­tional di­a­logue to pull the coun­try out of the cur­rent dead­lock. They have rightly un­der­stood that the coun­try’s prob­lems can­not be re­solved by courts. In­deed, the prob­lems are mul­ti­fac­eted and ex­pressed in po­lit­i­cal con­tes­ta­tions. Un­der­neath are the ques­tions of fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion and elec­toral jus­tice, gover­nance, re­source ac­cess, fair play and equity.

As we re­port else­where in this edi­tion to­day, the war­ring po­lit­i­cal en­ti­ties, Ju­bilee Party and the Na­tional Su­per Al­liance, are equally con­ced­ing that the frac­tious push-pull game is sear­ing, hol­low and hence un­ten­able. The re­course is struc­tured and hon­est con­ver­sa­tion about mat­ters of na­tional im­por­tance. Di­a­logue, how­ever, must not be pref­aced with de­mands. Only last week­end, the Angli­can Church made a spir­ited pitch for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion through na­tional di­a­logue.

When Kenya en­acted the Con­sti­tu­tion in 2010, it was en­vis­aged it would cure the malaise that had af­flicted the coun­try since in­de­pen­dence. That it would spell out a new con­tract and con­sum­mate the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the gov­er­nors and the gov­erned. Largely, it has taken Kenya in that di­rec­tion, but it equally man­i­fests mor­tal gaps not an­tic­i­pated and which have come to haunt the coun­try. One is the com­po­si­tion of gov­ern­ment that pro­vides for a con­strict­ing struc­ture that locks out large seg­ments of so­ci­ety and, in turn, fo­ments rage and dis­con­tent that boils down to vi­o­lence. Sec­ond is the elu­sive na­tional unity ag­gra­vated by the di­choto­mous feel­ings of marginal­i­sa­tion in one hand and en­ti­tle­ment in the other.

We need to seize the emerg­ing sense of rap­proche­ment and push for na­tional di­a­logue that should delve into the con­tentious ques­tions and seek com­mon an­swers. That is the only path to cre­at­ing a sta­ble and co­he­sive so­ci­ety.

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