, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has challenged presidential hopefuls to run their campaigns on national, trans-ethnic platforms and desist from engaging in personalised attacks.
The VP said that the contest should not be made to look as if it is between one ethnic community and another or between several ethnic communities against another.
Musyoka warned voters to be on the look out for those engaged in propaganda during elections as it was the voter who pays the ultimate price in violent conflict.
“Voters and society at large pay the highest price in the event of electing undeserving leaders and representatives, therefore the onus is on the voter to remember that in their own interest the choice must be made on the singular criterion of honesty, integrity and a sense of reforms. Talking of reform only without the accompaniment of integrity is political thuggery,” said the VP.
Musyoka said that all candidates in the election ought to commit themselves to accept the results of the election and also prepare their supporters for the results.
“We must all realise that the purpose of an election is to identify one candidate out of many to lead or to represent citizens,” insisted the VP who is also contesting for the top seat adding that those dissatisfied with the results of the election should take the honorable decision to seek arbitration from the courts of law
Speaking during the opening of a conference on Community Tensions, Dialogue and Peace building he said that the strength of the nation lay in the diversity of its nationals.
The VP challenged scholars to explore ways in which Kenyan communities can get encouraged to co exist and stay peaceful
“When we speak our mother tongue the things that come out are absolutely beautiful, but as we appreciate the beauty we must be able to draw limits,” he challenged.
On income, the Vice President noted that eradication of poverty and creation of wealth for Kenyans is arguably the most potent solution to the resource-based tension and conflict that now prevails in some areas.
Musyoka said there was need to improve credit and financial markets, stepping up investment, expand the existing enterprises and create new ones and ultimately creating jobs for the youth.
“If we fix poverty by creating jobs and wealth, we fix a multitude of other social ills and realise a happier and more peaceful and stable society,” he said.
On security in the region, the Vice President called for concerted effort to ensure there is peace in the neighboring countries.
“Our effort to secure peace and stability here at home will be incomplete if we fail to extend such initiatives to our neighbors who are in need of such assistance,” he said.
NCIC Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia insisted that the commission will continue engaging communities to enhance peaceful coexistence even in the long run.
“The Commission has also brought to the fore public discussions on ethnicity; a subject that was hitherto whispered by Kenyan in private, The commission is bringing together one time antagonists to the table and enable them to have open and frank discussions on factors that cause division among them,” outlined Kibunjia.
Kibunjia insisted that criticism aimed at the commission after three Kikuyu musicians were charged in court was a thing he was now used to and that he will always be guided by the law in action against hate speech.
“You are dammed if you do it you are also dammed if you do it,” he said.
The two day conference is organized by the National Commission on Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Coventry University, University of Nairobi and the British Council.