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Politicians must learn to disagree respectfully

Tuesday September 10 2019

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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The chaotic scenes that have rocked Murang’a County in the past few days arising from political rivalry between two opposing camps is quite disgraceful. It is detestable that some politicians cannot disagree without resorting to physical combat. They are provoking anarchy and creating acrimony.

What we witnessed on Sunday when Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro confronted Nominated MP Maina Kamanda at a church and the attendant altercation and mayhem was despicable. It is bad manners for leaders to engage in such debased conduct and, worse, inside the hallowed precincts of the church.

Politics is about competition of ideas and not shameful brawls. Politicians should sell their views and proposals to the public but not instigate violence. But our politicians have the dubious distinction of fomenting discord and chaos. Difference of opinions is viewed as direct challenge to one’s authority and fought through brute force. Reason is sacrificed at the altar of brawn.

It is indefensible that the MPs were fighting over a microphone — certainly, an extension of a long-raging clash over political loyalty in regard to succession politics. But the brawl depicted them as mannerless individuals undeserving of the public offices they occupy. They owe the public an apology for gross misconduct.

The rise in political intolerance is unhealthy. Political temperatures are rising and shifting focus away from what matters. Any visitor to the country would imagine we are on the verge of an election, which is not the case. The next general election is three years away and it is unconscionable that politicians should engage in high-octane campaigns at this moment. What will happen when the elections are nigh?

But that is part of the story. The debate would be incomplete without challenging religious leaders to keep politics out of places of worship. The churches, mosques or temples play a pivotal role in society. They promote right over wrong and are open to anyone seeking spiritual nourishment. But that does not mean politicians should be allowed to use the pulpit to push their own selfish agenda and, worse, spew hatred.

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A situation where politicians take advantage of the pulpit to champion selfish and secular interests is unacceptable. Which is the reason we challenge religious leaders to keep their institutions sacred. Truth be told, some faith leaders fraternise with politicians for cash donations under the guise of building worship places, which give the latter a toehold that they exploit.

We abhor the reckless political campaigns and violence. Politicians must spare the citizens the unnecessary commotion that is creating animosity and hatred.

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