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Kenya Needs a Different Approach to Reconciliation

Unless and until the historical injustices of this country are addressed, Kenya will be operating on rhetoric and the reality will always be haunting natives. We thank God that Uhuru and Ruto, formerly accused of committing crimes against each other’s community came together and seized power back in 2013. Whether it was legitimate or not, I prefer leaving it open ended for reasons that are obvious to me. The duo has since battled the ICC and recently they “celebrated their victory” against The Hague based international tribunal. They have since kept preaching reconciliation. It is a gospel they have kept singing very well but arguably with little significance or no known impact as yet. Perhaps they have been doing it in a wrong way.

My opinion would be that reconciliation is normally the last tool in the enterprise of conflict transformation. I recently watched with horror some victims of the post-election violence shed tears. If they can do it 8 years on; it only helps to send a message that victims are hurting. And I mean real victims; after all, we have many victims of the post-election violence around these days. It is often not easy to differentiate between the genuine and the fake. We recently saw some pray for the termination of the cases and others celebrate when the cases were finally terminated. But at ones we saw others claim they have been neglected and that this was victory for impunity. The Jury is out.

Methinks it is absurd to talk about reconciliation, before, the truth is established, justice is seen to be served, before apologies are made, before forgiveness is genuinely sought and granted, before mutual resolve, by the people, to accept the reality, however painful it is and move forward as a nation. The ongoing top-down approach through which politicians proclaim reconciliation from political rallies and “prayer gathering” is inherently problematic. I dare say it will surely fail, it shall fail. And that leaves us on a more precarious situation. Needs of victims if not satisfactorily and conclusively addressed and if victims are not going to be convinced to move forward with the political elite, most of whom, who are actually the perpetrators of the violence, then we can be sure that we are not out of the woods yet; we might not be any time soon. I don't know when but we can rest assured that someday whether in this generation or the other Kenya will explode unless we tackle real issues and we tackle them comprehensively well.

It is absurd for us to pretend that nothing is happening and that Kenya is at peace and that let us move on. We risk a time when those burdened with accumulated injustices will refuse to move on. Kenya is hurting. We cannot possibly and meaningfully so move on without recourse to our past and without serious consultation with the people of Kenya. We have to reconcile our nations with the past since therein lies the key to a future prosperous nation. But not this one we are proclaiming from rooftops. Let us be humble and go consult the people; they will tell us what to do and how to do it. We might pick a lesson or two on how to search for healing and reconciliation for the good of the nation. 
Kenya Needs a Different Approach to Reconciliation Kenya Needs a Different Approach to Reconciliation Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on April 25, 2016 Rating: 5

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