National dialogue only way to resolve impasse

Friday November 10 2017

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Political heat seems to have cooled down in the wake of the petitions filed at the Supreme Court challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election last month.

But embers are smouldering underneath the hearthstone.

The country remains in a state of paralysis arising from the polarised and rancorous politics.

It is in recognition of this latent heat that the Catholic Church and now political parties are beginning to acknowledge and purpose to confront the ugly reality facing the nation.

Catholic bishops have resolved to spearhead a national dialogue to pull the country out of the current deadlock.

They have rightly understood that the country’s problems cannot be resolved by courts.

Indeed, the problems are multifaceted and expressed in political contestations.


Underneath are the questions of fair representation and electoral justice, governance, resource access, fair play and equity.

The warring political entities, Jubilee Party and the National Super Alliance, are equally conceding that the fractious push-pull game is searing, hollow and hence untenable.

The recourse is structured and honest conversation about matters of national importance.

Dialogue, however, must not be prefaced with demands.

Only last weekend, the Anglican Church made a spirited pitch for reconciliation through national dialogue.

When Kenya enacted the Constitution in 2010, it was envisaged it would cure the malaise that had afflicted the country since independence.

That it would spell out a new contract and consummate the relationship between the governors and the governed.

Largely, it has taken Kenya in that direction, but it equally manifests mortal gaps not anticipated and which have come to haunt the country.

One is the composition of government that provides for a constricting structure that locks out large segments of society and, in turn, foments rage and discontent that boils down to violence.


Second is the elusive national unity aggravated by the dichotomous feelings of marginalisation in one hand and entitlement in the other.

We need to seize the emerging sense of rapprochement and push for national dialogue that should delve into the contentious questions and seek common answers.

That is the only path to creating a stable and cohesive society.