Monday, November 20, 2006

A Country Divided Cannot Win A War

Abraham Lincoln said a country cannot win a war if divided. Our problem is that our country is divided. There is lack of bipartisanism among our politicians while the issues facing us (insecurity, poverty, constitution making and corruption) call for a united resolve. These are national issues that cannot be defeated if our politicians (government and opposition politicians) are pulling in different directions. Politicians should stop playing hide and seek game with these issues. Unless they stand united we all are going to drown as the country sinks to irredeemable levels.

At least I admire Americans and leaders of other developed countries. They know when to stop partisan politics and stand united to face national threats and issues. I live in Norway and we have gang crimes and security concerns, as well as corruption here too. But what I admire about the politicians here is that they do not play politics with these issues. Both government and opposition stand united, support and pass the necessary policies and laws to fight the menace.

When we look at the Kenya scene what do we see. A government and opposition that cannot agree on anything except their salaries. Recent constitutional negotiations failed because the government wanted a comprehensive constitutional reform and the opposition wanted minimum reforms. There lacked give and take. Couldn't we have both if the parties were committed to success? Similarly, on insecurity the government maintains that it is the work of criminals and the opposition says it is politically motivated without offering proof. The government bans political gatherings until the security is restored and opposition politicians defy this with Kamukunji "prayers". On corruption both parties are living in their own worlds. Both do not see the logs in their own eyes but are busy pointing at each other’s faults. While the country is recovering from economic morass of the last decades, the opposition trashes this by saying that it is a result of drug money and money laundering. After the referendum last year instead of healing both parties recoiled to their political cocoons. The winning party was full of egoism and started issuing ultimatums to the government. You cannot call for dialogue through threats and ultimatums. On the other hand, the government turned inwards to lick its wounds and had no time for dialogue.

The lack of bipartisanism is our own Achilles heel. Until our politicians learn this, politics will remain acutely competitive and destructive. They need to stop and re-examine the direction they are headed and take a different course. All that is need from our politicians (both in the government and the opposition) is to play responsible and accountable politics. They are all on watch from different positions and they should be held accountable for any destruction they occasion the country. Our duty as citizens is not to take sides in the destructive politics of our politicians but to examine and hold them responsible for their actions and omissions. Let us not be deceived by them that one party is guilty than the other. In this case, I think both have failed us.

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