I was not shocked when on Thursday evening, mature men — and I use the word mature very cautiously — behaved like 10-year-olds in a school yard because they had a disagreement with their political rivals.
For those of you who are not very active on social media, let me report to you that the difference between how the MPs behaved and what Kenyans on social media are doing is the same, only this time, Kenyans on social media are fighting each other using bitter words and ethnic slurs.
This politics, these never-ending elections, this political ping-pong, is not only exhausting, it has brought out the worst in us, and I am frankly afraid for this country. We have abandoned reason, suspended our thinking and thrown away our morals for the sake of politicians who couldn’t care less about us. The madness has moved from bloggers, some of who are paid as little as Sh500 to push hashtags, to your average social media user who is now tweeting and posting Facebook updates based on their political biases.
Allow me to say one thing to those childish and immature MPs we saw on TV fighting because of their political godfathers: You need to stop crossing oceans and seas for men who would never jump over a puddle for you. I mean you need to stop embarrassing yourself on national television fighting over men who would never do the same for you. Stop embarrassing your children and making their lives difficult because you want some cheap political mileage.
It is disingenuous for a mature man, and a thinking Kenyan to insult others just because they chose to go out and vote or chose to stay at home and boycott the vote. You need to ask yourself why these politicians do not involve their children and wives in street protests and heated online exchanges.
I don’t want to push the “we are brothers and sisters” cliche. We are not brothers and sisters. We cannot all pretend to be friends and love one another. Frankly, some of you are so vile and unlovable but that is okay. I will leave that brother-sister messaging to peace-preneurs — as you call them on social media.
We are not one blood and we are not family. What we are though, is that we are Kenyans. We live in the same country and we use the same roads and guess what, we get exploited by politicians the same way, irrespective of where we come from or whether or not we throw tantrums on social media.
We belong to different cultures and some of these repel others, but that is also okay. We have political differences, we think differently and we all want different people to be president. That is also okay.
However, in the same way a dozen axes find a way to co-exist in one basket, so must we find a way to live with each other in this nation. I am not asking you to love your neighbour, although that would be nice. I am only asking you to tolerate them. If they woke up early to go and vote and you stayed home to tweet about it, mind your own business. If they stayed home, shouting and screaming “sham elections!” as you stoically braved the rain and cold in the voting queue, be quiet and wait for the results.
Finally, if all else fails, and you find no reason to co-exist with your neighbour, do it for selfish reasons.
You need Kenya to stay peaceful for you to go about your business and for your children to go to school in January. You need this country to stay intact.
I don’t know about you, but I am not ready to be a refugee and lose this wonderful life I have created for myself.
The analogy of Kenya as a marriage has often been used to push for a cessation discourse. I’d like you to think about it from another angle.
Think of Kenya as a marriage. In marriage, people are not always excited about each other and sometimes (for some, most times), they ask themselves “why did I get married?”. Yet, they say, ndoa ni kuvumiliana (tolerance is key in marriage). Why can’t Kenyans use that philosophy — which we have perfected at home — while dealing with each other? Can we tolerate each other?