Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CORD'S DEFIANCE OVER RALLIES A SIGN OF POLITICAL MYOPIA

So the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) - the main Opposition entity in Kenya - is determined to go ahead with its highly divisive and controversial country-wide rallies against all Government security warnings?

It was not without reason that the Uhuru Administration announced it had cancelled the opposition rallies in Eldoret and Narok this weekend called by Raila Odinga to protest the Government's refusal for a national dialogue over crucial matters affecting the country.

However, one does not need to be a political or security strategist to understand why the Jubilee Coalition is opposed to these and other CORD mass gatherings.

Everyone knows these are not normal times. The country is under attack from terror groups domiciled in Somalia and from sleeper cells within the country. Many people have lost their lives during the past year from brutal gang attacks perpetrated by our enemies, the last one being the Mpeketoni massacre in which more than 60 people were murdered.

In addition, clan clashes and cattle rustling in some parts of northern and western Kenya have heightened insecurity, and continue to cause deaths and displacements and hardships to innocent men, women and children.

All this while politicians go around the country spreading vitriol and inciting people to violence. A number of leaders from both sides of the political divide now face criminal charges resulting from their use of hateful language.

It is my view that these rallies will further polarise the population on partisan and tribal lines and subsequently invite anarchy. That is why I feel CORD should heed Government calls and abandon these meetings for the sake of the country. If the Opposition fails to accede, then it must be prepared to take responsibility for any loss of life and destruction of property that may follow.

Even some of CORD's most ardent members in and outside Parliament are worried about these rallies and have urged restraint. But hardliners in the opposition, led by Raila himself, want to hear nothing of it. No wonder CORD is a divided house over this issue.

The kind of chest-thumping displayed by CORD - and its "wapende wasipende" (whether they like it or not) rhetoric - is not only a show of reckless defiance but a recipe for chaos in a country that is already facing many other challenges that require the urgent attention of authorities.

True, every Kenyan has a constitutional right to free speech. But hiding behind the Constitution to engage in activities that are clearly a danger to peace is unpatriotic and myopic.

And that is my say.