The protracted political war has now shifted from the streets to the floor of Parliament.
It’s an apparently tough time for the National Assembly.
Each side of the political divide has taken a hard stance and it doesn’t seem like anyone is about to back down.
This begs the question: How is this going to end, if it will end? Or maybe the right question is: How is this supposed to end?
The truth of the matter is that nobody goes to war unless they believe they are right and nobody goes to war to lose.
It is apparent that both sides believe they are right and each one is determined to win!
But the reality is that they are warring and when people get into a conflict, it follows that there will be casualties and ultimately, one team will win.
The sharp differences between Jubilee and Nasa MPs are a microcosm of the many underlying conflicts the two parties are experiencing.
They will continue to play out in mutating forms as days go by.
This is not strange, bearing in mind that our differences naturally have the potential to lead to conflict. Conflict is, therefore, not the problem.
It is the result of the problem, which is our inability to manage our differing views and perspectives, making communication rather challenging.
The remedy is not for one group to give up its perspectives or to be forced to do things as the other one wants.
The goal is to co-exist in the midst of our diversity.
The problem is solved when rival parties create shared meaning so as to facilitate communication.
This shared meaning sometimes does not exist. It needs to be created, and this is done when the rival parties genuinely ask themselves: “What does this mean to us?”
This interrogation needs to be sustained until the question is answered. For this to succeed, the individuals need to pull themselves out of the crowd for introspection.
This interrogation will become problematic when conducted within the stronghold of groupthink. It will require that members become diplomats and ask themselves the question on behalf of the group, with a clear understanding that differences can open opportunities for collaboration and learning.
Our differences should not have lasting ramifications. People can learn from their differences and create something together that is greater than they could produce separately.
For Nasa and Jubilee, it seems as if nothing greater is going to be produced separately. The hard stances will only create more tension and animosity.
The idea is not to come together as one team for things to work, but rather to find the shared meaning.
One thing we all seem to agree on and embrace is that this country is greater than any of us.
A united nation is great, a strong Parliament is great, a country governed by the rule of law is great, a corruption-free country is greater than one infested with thieves, and a strong economy is greater than a people struggling with poverty.
If all they want is to rule a people, they want a small thing!
They should look at what is happening in Africa and smell the coffee.
To lead is to liberate not just the people, but oneself. It’s to deliver oneself from a wrong mind-set.
It’s to uphold the codes that govern a people, it’s to exert power that influences others in a way that is more enduring and welcoming.
It’s to solve problems and find lasting solutions to strengthen the nation and empower the people.
We, therefore, cannot be enslaved by the differences between the two parties.
We can only hope that their respective strengths will be found to manage the differences.
Ms Omukoba is a Communications Strategist and Lecturer at Kenyatta University. [email protected]