, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – A new survey on the status of social cohesion in the country by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission shows that 56.6 percent of Kenyans are cohesive.
This is according to key components that promote cohesion among them trust, peace, equity, diversity, prosperity and national identity.
The report released on Monday indicates that only 43.7 percent of all Kenyans in the country trust people from another ethnic group and the Judiciary but notably the rates are very low in counties along the Eastern and Coastal regions.
The weak trust in these regions is associated to likelihood of conflict in the areas and more so over natural resources.
“Conversely, when individuals lack trust for one another, as well as for public institutions, there is more likely to be conflict given the greater risk of not reaching amicable agreements in issues,” the report cautions.
“Weakness in, or the lack of interpersonal trust and trust for public institutions is likely to increase transaction costs and reduce spontaneous cooperation.”
According to the report, areas with more resources were more cohesive compared to marginalised areas.
Other issues seen to promote division among Kenyans, the report says include high levels of unemployment among the youths and inequitable distribution of resources by both National and County Governments.
The commission’s chairperson Francis ole Kaparo says lack of political goodwill remains a major hurdle in achieving a cohesive society.
“We have to bring cohesiveness to our society because if we do not do that, the very foundation of our existence is at stake. It is difficult, it is a big challenge but must be done,” he stated.
“Is it achievable? Yes it is…it requires resources and the mental change of our society, it’s all in the brain.”
He said the government must prioritise promoting cohesiveness saying even now, “we lack political will and I still believe we don’t have it.”
“It is in the brain of intellectuals… this division between us and them, between religion and religion; it’s all in the head. We have a lot to do because the stakes are high.”
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on his part challenged Kenyans to focus on playing an individual role while putting on the spot individuals on social media whom he says are learned but continue to spur hatred instead of unity.
“It is my strong belief that until the elite resolve to make Kenya better, choose a path of progressive politics and inclusive development which will also be in their long term interests, the country shall continue to wallow in poverty and remain trapped in the tragedy of under development of both our economy and development,” he stated.
“You only need to visit social media to see educated Kenyans in their most unvarnished, crude, vile mode; a bunch of digital bandits using 21st century technology to engage in exchanges that even Zinjanthropus would probably be ashamed of.”
Still on the social media, he pointed out that the said elites also reflect “The tendency to profile and prejudice the other, the practice of dancing on other people grave of misfortunes.”