Mzalendo Kibunja, chair of the NCIC and David Kimaiyo, the recently appointed Police Inspector General have both asked politicians to refrain themselves from speaking about the land issue before the March 4th General Elections. It’s apparently an emotive issue that should not be discussed. This is because it can divide Kenyans along tribal lines and lead to unimaginable pre or post election violence.
Well, why then should we have an election? It is more or less like saying that; Americans should not talk about guns, Britons should not talk about the Euro-zone, Germans should ignore the plight of Greece and Afghans should refrain from discussing the threat of Taliban insurgents.
Kenyans need to understand why elections are held. Elections are not vehicles to get your brother, sister and tribesman to some given destination. However, this is how we have viewed and conducted elections in our country.
We need to understand that an election is an outlet for the people. It is a way of bringing into sharp focus what really ails a country and making it an agenda for the next government.
If we cannot talk about land, which is the single most important factor of production in Kenya, second only to labor, then what can we possibly talk about? If our leaders cannot be held accountable for their part in denying Kenyans access to this important resource then by what standards are we measuring leadership?
We cannot bury our head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. We must confront our problems head on. We must make our leaders acutely aware of what pains us politically, economically, and socially. We must discuss the land issue.
Remember that the thief who stole the village goat never wants the village to talk about the stolen goat. He would rather they focus on some other irrelevant issues.
Some still argue that the land issue is divisive and that it will lead to violence. These people say that we should keep numb about it and let bygones be bygones. Such men and women are exactly the crop of leaders that we need to kick out.
If Moses would have turned back at the Red Sea just because some of his people had become skeptical then the Israelites would have never reached Canaan. If John F. Kennedy has swept the cries of the civil rights movement under the carpet then there would have never been a black US president. ‘Carpe diem tempus fugit’ i.e. seize the day, time flees.
The land issue is like a volcano. It is only a matter of time before it erupts. A bad leader would try to plug the volcano only for the eruption to become more violent.
A good leader will not ignore the signs of the times. He will prepare well by evacuating his people. He will build trenches so that the magma can flow far away from villages and into the sea.
In conclusion, the land issue in Kenya must and should be discussed. This is the only way it can become a critical part of the agenda for the incoming leadership.
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