The discriminative use of state resources in the run up to the referendum is a classic tale of state excesses. The power of choice is a preserve of the people, no matter what they choice it is. It is not a privilege. It is a right. The state may try to influence this choice but should not resort to subversion tactics to put down alternative patterns of thought.
The suppression of opposing contrary opinion can be engineered either through physical restriction e.g. detentions, banning rallies/demonstrations or through the lack of administrative, logistical and/or monetary support. The former is the use, or more appropriately, the abuse of power to contain the proponents of alternate views. The latter is the use of soft power i.e. denying the opposing side the essential requirements of any organization or any mechanism in effectively undertaking its agenda. It is the choice of a wise dictator. This is because it circumvents existing laws that may prevent use of compulsive tactics. It also hoodwinks a liberal public into believing that suppression is not in use as a tool by the state.
In the case of Kenya, the state is trying to suppress the views of a section of its own citizens for a document that will guide its own operations for years to come but in doing so the state puts its own existence in peril for these same voices will find crevices from which to emerge now or in future. Then the state will have to account for its subversion tactics. Fortunately, for those who today hold the reins of power, they will not be there to account but their future generation will be! Their future kin will suffer the consequences of their actions along with those whose views the state suppressed. In addition, those who were on the same side as these same leaders now but were mindful of the true nature of things will also pay a price for their unwelcome silence.
The end never justifies the means. The Yes camp may have a very powerful argument. Likewise, so may the No camp. The methods each side decides to use in achieving their goal may carry forth consequences that will be another burden for the nation to bear. Stand up against oppression and falsehoods from both sides regardless of which camp you find yourself in. The revolution is in you and not the politician.
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