BY MZALENDO KIBUNJIA
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission has steadfastly reiterated that during an election period, Kenyans and especially leaders have to make statements that are restrained, guarded and careful to ensure good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence between persons of different ethnic communities in Kenya. This remains a key agenda of the country and every Kenyan, particularly as we gear up for national elections.
The NCIC has received credible reports regarding tensions mounting between the Luo and Kisii communities following the statements made by Hon. Jakoyo Midiwo MP for Gem and Chief Whip.
NCIC is asking leaders to uphold and respect the rule of law and institutions. Hon. Jakoyo should have reported the matter to the police and allowed them to investigate to its logical conclusion.
Leaders need to be alive to the fact that the statements they make can inflame passions, incite and cause tension and even violent conflict between ethnic communities.
The relative peace that we have enjoyed thus far as a country could easily go up in flames as a result of irresponsible actions and statements, which may appear innocuous. How we move forward as a country will depend on sober leadership, restraint and actions that will build on the relative peace and stability that we have enjoyed as a country in the last four years.
The statement by Hon. Jakoyo, whether true or not is of a serious nature and serious attention needs to be given to it. As we head towards the elections, we no doubt expect many circumstances in which potential threats to our continued unity and peaceful co-existence will be threatened. The rule of law will be upheld to curb these threats without fear or favour.
We have therefore issued a cessation notice to Hon. Jakoyo Midiwo requiring him to keep the peace and watch use of language that is likely to inflame communal tension. NCIC has also alerted the Police to watch out for further utterances on the matter that would further serve to interfere with the cohesion of this country.
The Principals have a duty to continue holding the country together as they have done in the last four years. This responsibility is greater now more than ever considering that our politics are tribal, sectional, regional and that ethnic interests not ideologies drive Kenyan campaigns.
How individuals, communities, institutions and security agencies deal with these potential threats will determine whether the tranquillity that we have enjoyed continues. It is for that reason that the National Cohesion and Integration Commission is adding its voice to this matter and calling for sobriety, and asking that all allow the law to take its course.
We are coming out very strongly because it is our determination to break the jinx of violence in the next general elections.
For the Luo’s and Kisii’s who co – exist peacefully everywhere in this country, let us put Kenya Kwanza – chunga jirani yako hii Kenya ni yetu sisi sote. Do not be drawn into a war that is not yours.
(Mzalendo Kibunjia is the Chairman, National Cohesion and Integration Commission)