VOICE OF LIBERTY: Panacea of Electoral Conflict in Kenya ~ Alex Ndungu Njeru


The election season is with us again and everyone in Kenya is catching a cold. The paralysis that generally accompanies elections, electioneering and the electoral process in Kenya is here with us. The humdrum in our lives have been punctured, strikes upon strikes have become an all too frequent sight in Kenya. Tribes are realizing that age old enmity that has always existed among them must come to the fore in the most injurious of ways. Over the past few weeks our television screens have broadcast grotesque images of ethnic acrimony in the Tana Delta and procession after procession of labour union members, who have realized that the political God fathers who decide; the when and the how resources are distributed and redistributed in Kenyan society are more philanthropic during election season.


Hindsight shows us that we are involuntarily trotting towards the proverbial ‘tunnel with light’ at its other end, however we must decide and decide fast if indeed we want to get into the tunnel or if the inevitable happens and we do indeed find ourselves in the dark tunnel, then we must decided how long we are to be in darkness before we reach the desired light.

A superficial gloss over of the myriads of maladies that afflict Kenyan society during periods preceding and succeeding elections might conjure up the image of an archaic society that generally becomes and makes itself ungovernable during national elections. Such an observation though is unfussy, I mean we have had five years to prepare for elections, we are not being ambushed into elections, or are we?

However, most of Kenya’s conflict is economic in nature, and requires remedies of such nature. But then politicians in all their frugality have over time either failed to identify the causes of conflict in Kenya’s or have generally refused to provide remedial measures to pacify us all into peaceful coexistence.  An active feature of Kenya’s is the massive inequality that characterizes Kenyan society. There’s inequality between different social classes, regions and different ethnic communities.  The panacea to this inequality has eluded Kenyan society for a period too long. Key among the sticking points is, do we deal with inequality by equalizing our poverty by asserting in defeatist terms that if ‘some of us be poor, then all of us be poor’ or by equalizing the opportunities for all to benefit from liberalized and progressive economies.

Over time politicians in all their demagoguery have lead their communities against perceived well-of-communities in bids to rectify historical injustices that have stacked the odds against them. So often than not, this has led to tribal conflicts that have become a vex to Kenya’s development endeavors.

Diversification of the  economy and economic opportunities  should see the Kenyan communities and more so pastoral communities move away from the age old production organization, that should the potential of more Kenyans released towards making the country a better lot for all of us.

As for the industrial strikes and go-slows that have paralyzed Kenyan society of late, most Kenyans want a part of the largesse that the government so often boasts of as evidence of her development record.

A public teacher for example would find it incomprehensible that Kenyan members of parliament in Kenya earn around 800,000 KSHs yet the government can effect a modest 300% salary raise that would see a teacher earning 10,000KSHs earn 30,000KSHs.


Alex Ngungu Njeru is an associate of AfricanLiberty.org and a member of the Voice of Liberty Project

5 years since the last general elections, yet in Kenya nothing seems to have changed