Home COLUMNS AND OPINIONS The power of unity stretches far beyond national recovery

The power of unity stretches far beyond national recovery

by biasharadigest

By MIRIAM CHELASHAW
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The talk of a potential broad national unity government should not come as a shock to anyone. If anything, such a concept is a natural continuation of the process of national unity, harmony and reconciliation that began with the famed March, 2018 “handshake”, which took place at Harambee House between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga. It later led to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Gradually, after decades of counterproductive conflicts, our nation’s leaders have recognised that our strength lies in our unity. 

The timing of discussions surrounding unity among different political factions is not a coincidence. True leaders know when political differences should be put aside for the benefit of the nation. The process of forging unity has been has been the product of leadership across the political spectrum.

Although coronavirus pandemic has now accelerated the process, unity should not be seen as a product of the pandemic. 

Unity will enable accelerated national recovery in our time of need. However, beyond that, this unity symbolises something much greater: our leaders’ capacity to put personal interests aside. It is this spirit of unity that will guide Kenyan politics. 

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has described the BBI as, “the best cure for our country’s many ills”.

The power of unity to cure our country of its many malaises naturally takes on a new meaning in the time of Covid-19. But pandemics come and go. Aside from the virus, what the BBI will help us overcome political and ethnic divisions that have plagued our country for generations.

Whether or not this unity government emerges, the unity which our president has been fostering in recent years will not be forgotten. Many countries have been taking advantage of the crisis to undermine democratic governance and encourage sectarianism.

This has not been the case in Kenya, where the coronavirus challenge has been a force for positive political developments. 

In the past two years, many have tried to cynically undermine this unity, although they should have been commending the government for the progress that has been made.

Instead of throwing their own weight behind the country’s democratically elected leadership, they have been trying to undermine government plans.

Despite all these sinister efforts, the government is always committed to unite Kenyans. This has been the focal point of the BBI process.

Politicians will no longer sell political division in the country.

When inclusiveness is a government’s guiding light, there is a role for each and every individual to play, irrespective of political orientation.

This is something which has for too long been elusive in the politics of our country and is necessary if we are to grow as a nation. In President Kenyatta’s address to the nation during 2018 Madaraka Day celebrations, he said politics based on unity will help Kenya prosper. 

It is time politicians supported initiatives that are good for the people instead of pushing personal political agenda. It is time for leaders to admit past mistakes that undermined unity and channel these experiences to transform the society.

It is time to open our eyes to see opportunities for collaboration and friendship, instead of discord and strife. It is this spirit of unity which helped us attain our independence in 1963.

And it is this spirit that will free us from forces inhibiting our future development and prosperity. 

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