Elec­tions were bit­ter, di­vi­sive even, but se­ces­sion is not the so­lu­tion

The East African - - OPINION -

THE RE­CENT elec­tions in Kenya made for a bad and deeply di­vi­sive mo­ment. If one took the ex­am­ple of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, where se­cu­rity agen­cies and elec­toral bod­ies failed to be neu­tral, cred­i­ble and fair, then, one would un­der­stand the cur­rent bit­ter feel­ings.

Among those feel­ing done in by the elec­tions is Gover­nor Ali Hasan Joho of Mom­basa County, who has joined a dozen mem­bers of par­lia­ment from the re­gion push­ing for se­ces­sion of Coastal prov­ince from main­land Kenya. This is ob­vi­ously a po­lit­i­cal re­ac­tion to the en­trenched cul­ture of elec­toral fraud in Kenya. Such re­ac­tions are deeply emo­tional and must be shunned by politi­cians.

It is true that Kenya has now re­ceded into an abyss of po­lit­i­cal de­cay, but we need the right ap­proaches in our strug­gle against such fail­ures of elec­toral democ­racy. An at­tempt to balka­nise Kenya will bring more suf­fer­ing to the peo­ple.

The un­for­tu­nate thing about those push­ing for se­ces­sion in their ef­forts to pun­ish Ju­bilee gov­ern­ment is that elec­toral fraud and pol­i­tics of dis­crim­i­na­tion are not only ex­pe­ri­enced at na­tional level, but in lo­cal pol­i­tics.

The idea of se­ces­sion was adopted in Nige­ria, Zanz­ibar, Pak­istan, and South­ern Su­dan as well as in many other parts of the world but it did not work well. In the era of African pol­i­tics be­ing fo­cused on the com­ing to­gether of states to form eco­nom­i­cally vi­able blocs, the idea of se­ces­sion does not help. What is to be done must be driven by the col­lec­tive un­der­stand­ing that Kenya has now been ren­dered cap­tive to a fi­nan­cial oli­garch, an oli­garch that has also be­come a po­lit­i­cal oli­garch.

In or­der to over­come such forces of tyranny, the true pa­tri­ots of Kenya’s strug­gle for in­clu­sive and gen­uine gov­er­nance must unite and keep on fight­ing. It is not go­ing to be easy, it will take time, but the strug­gle must con­tinue. Alexan­der Opi­cho Lod­war

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