MPs must lead quest for peaceful elections
Posted Thursday, June 7 2012 at 20:00
Members of Parliament gather in Mombasa on Friday for a meeting on peaceful elections.
The import of the gathering can be gleaned from the participation of the co-principals of the Grand Coalition Government, with President Kibaki presiding over the opening and Prime Raila Odinga officiating at the closing.
With the terrible aftermath of the disputed 2007 elections still fresh in memory, the importance of peaceful campaigns and elections cannot be gainsaid.
Kenya was only narrowly pulled from the precipice of civil war and anarchy.
Therefore, all must appreciate that deliberate action must be taken to ensure the contest for political office must never again drive us down that dark road.
It is the duty and responsibility of every person in Kenya to support the quest for peaceful elections and ultimately attainment of a truly democratic system and lasting peace, security, and prosperity.
However, there are specific groups that bear an even greater responsibility.
The national leadership and the political classes must take the lead in the quest for peace, especially because they are the ones who engage in dirty electoral duels that precipitate violence and breakdown of law and order.
MPs, ministers, and senior government officials gathered in Mombasa on Friday and Saturday must engage in frank and critical self-examination.
It is only by acknowledging their guilt that they can devise effective strategies towards ensuring that the coming campaigns will be peaceful and based on competing policies, programmes, and ideologies rather than personality clashes and base appeals to ethnic nationalism.
If successful, the Mombasa meeting will set the template for peace forums at the county level and ultimately a national peace conference.