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Kenya suffered the worst Post-Election Violence following the disputed presidential election of 2007/08, leading to more than 1,100 deaths and displacements of over half a million others, mainly in the Rift Valley.

Fifth Estate

Social class debate of ‘Haves’ and ‘Have Nots” is a recipe for anarchy

The aftermath of the 2007-2008 disputed presidential poll predisposed the country to a near-anarchy situation characterised by civil unrest, deaths, social disruption and destruction of property.

The spontaneous violence was fuelled by political incitement with negative ethnicity serving as a potent bait to lure nationals to rise against one another.

People lost lives, property worth billions looted and destroyed. Thousands were displaced thereby disrupting their normal and well-nurtured way of life.

The economy crippled, investors pulled out of the country, families were ruined, education was paralysed and everything came to a standstill.

What followed was a peace process preaching the need for constructive politics that incorporate tolerance, understanding and positive criticism as the critical unifying factors that would nurture reconciliation and spur economic growth.

Thus, the ideology of inclusivity seeks to address politics of ethnicity which has been an age long reality in Kenya and more often than not, politicians whip emotions to derive political capital out of it.

As a country, having gradually made significant baby strides to this end, it would be profoundly dangerous for political leaders to instigate a social class war deliberately or otherwise, to sow venomous seeds of discord of perceived oppression and inequality.

Kenya being a progressive democracy and a member state to the community of the civilised nations as illustrated by contrasting the country’s political evolvement since the multi-party era, weaponising social class differences cannot be an alternative to enthrone equity and social justice.

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Instead, it is a new populist strategy to instil bitterness to the majority on the bottom of the social hierarchy against the rest.

Disparities of economic endowment amongst people is a natural phenomenon and those at the lowest level should continuously be empowered through feasible policies to ensure equity and not fanning hatred.

As the country heads towards an electioneering period amid rising political temperatures attributed to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) debate and the 2022 succession contest, the narrative of the supposed proletariats codified as ‘hustlers’ and the claimed bourgeoisies codified as ‘dynasties’ can ignite a devastating class warfare and thus serve as a bane to the existing democratic ideals. 

Currently, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) accounts about 80 per cent of all enterprises in the country and employs two thirds of the population.

This population carder of the productive youth can only be used as an asset through gainful employment and empowerment programmes instead of turning them into bitter agents of destruction.

It is instructive to note that according to a report released last year by Overseas Development Institute (ODI) funded by the UK Department for International Development ranked Kenya among the four top African countries that presents a business opportunity for foreign investors targeting a place with a growing market base and higher returns alongside Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.

Another survey released by World Bank in 2019 ranked Kenya position 56 globally on attractiveness to investors on Ease of Doing Business up from position 61 in 2018.

Last year, Kenya attracted Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) worth Sh300 billion.

This is a clear manifestation that Kenya is an assured regional economic hub with vast resources and supportive infrastructural projects like the Port of Mombasa and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) just to mention a few which are prerequisite conditions to ease flow of capital.

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In a competitive global market at a time of dwindling trade barriers and border restrictions occasioned by enhanced advancement in technology, economic diplomacy has become an all important tool to secure investment opportunities through bilateral and multilateral trade cooperation.

Virtually, entrepreneurs are competing for the same markets world over thus necessitating regional integration.

This cannot be achieved in an environment where investors’ either local or foreign are not assured of the security and sustainability of their investments. Political stability and safety are key pre-conditions for business continuity.

The author is a Diplomacy and Communication Consultant

Kinyuru Munuhe


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