ODM lawmakers warn over tribal alliances

January 19, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – A group of eight MPs allied to the Orange Democratic Movement have warned their fellow lawmakers against forming tribal alliances in the run up to the upcoming general election.

Led by Kisauni MP Hassan Joho the legislators argued that such ethnic unions risk dividing Kenyans along social lines while at the same time increasing the possibility of a repeat of the post election chaos.

Mr Joho added that politicians should only base their campaign bids on their manifestos and ideologies but not on ethnic principles.

“Our fear, based on the 2002 violence, is that whipping tribal emotions creates an opportunity for citizens to vent their frustrations on fellow citizens over long simmering problems like crime and corruption thereby balkanising our country,” he said.

The leaders also called on the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to investigate and hold such persons to account arguing that they were breaching the law.

They further asked Kenyans to shun such persons as they were retrogressive.

“We want to challenge the relevant agencies and institutions to take up this matter and ensure that the seed of hate is not sowed. We believe and hope that like they have acted before, they will play their role and prevent this from getting worse,” he said.

The leaders plan to file an official complaint with the NCIC in due course.

And while making reference to the KKK alliance, Kisumu Town East MP Shakeer Shabbir, who was also present, termed the movement a hate campaign saying it was illegal.

“Even the name KKK actually denotes, to some of us who have been suffering, the Ku Klux Klan. It denotes the negative rather than bring out the positive aspects of different ethnicities. It is actually bringing back vibes of a hate campaign,” he charged.

The term KKK was coined out of the perceived political union between some leaders of Eastern, Central and Rift Valley provinces ahead of the 2012 elections.

Politicians associated with it include Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

But the politicians have distanced themselves from the said movement saying it is non-existent.

The Political Parties Act bars political alliances based on any social ties this includes women or men parties, ethnic parties, youth parties religious parties or any sector related parties.

The Registrar of political parties also has the authority to discredit and disqualify such unions.

Civil society groups have also in the recent pasts, criticised tribal based political unions on the same grounds.

Others who accompanied Mr Joho and Mr Shabir were Kanduyi MP Alfred Khang’ati who also serves as an assistant minister in the office of the Prime Minister, Bomachoge MP Simon Ogari, Nyakach MP Pollyins Ochieng, Nyaribari Chache MP Robert Monda, Bonchari MP Charles Onyancha and Kapenguria MP Julius Murgor.

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