Building Cohesion through Political Parties
Tuesday, 26th June, 2012
Political parties are the vehicles politicians use to vie for various political positions during elections. Today, according to the Registrar of Political Parties, there are about 50 political parties registered and more are yet to be registered.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) draws its existence from the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Agreement that sought to provide a peaceful solution to the political impasse and violence that engulfed the country after the 2007 general elections. In line with Section 25 of the NCI Act which mandates the Commission to facilitate and promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful coexistence between persons of the different ethnic and racial communities of Kenya, NCIC is forging links with political parties to enhance cohesion and integration during the electoral process.
We are therefore reminding political parties that the world will focus on them during this electoral process, and especially how they entrench the spirit of Constitutionalism through their party nominations.
The current Constitutional dispensation requires enactment of new laws and practices that will promote national unity through for example, creating a level playing field in the political space. In Kenya, like any other country, political parties are a medium available for aspirants to express themselves to voters in their quest to get elected. They provide candidates with the platform to voice their aspirations to various elective offices.
Nevertheless, the political parties’ processes have been characterized by cut-throat competition for nominations, outright bias, absence of a level playing field and mischief. The competitions within and across parties has often been marred by use of foul language, hate speech and even violence.
With the new election and political parties laws nearing enactment and as the general elections approach, NCIC will be working with the Registrar of Political Parties, as well as leaders and members of all political parties to infuse national cohesion, integration and equal opportunity principles in their campaign strategies and manifestos, to make political parties more inclusive.
This is in cognizance of the fact that political parties do not just contest elections, but also mobilize and organize social forces that energize democracy on a continuing basis.
The partnership, supported by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), will focus on working with political parties as agencies performing a service in which the public has a special interest, thus strengthening them to execute this in a manner that will build national cohesion.
A workshop for all the Political Parties is scheduled to take place in Naivasha on 1st to 3rd July, 2012 to bring together about 50 key representatives from political parties. The objective is to ensure that all sectors remain alive to the need of putting Kenya’s interest first in all they do.
Further, we would like to inform the public that the Commission is investigating songs which are likely to bring disharmony among Kenyans. Songs that promote hate along ethnic lines and stations that play such songs thereby publicising them will be censored.
Some of the songs we are currently looking at include; Uhuru ni Witu (Uhuru is Ours) – Kamande wa Kioi, Hague Bound – Muigai Wa Njoroge and Muhiko and Mwaka wa hiti (The year of the hyena) – Demathew. We urge Kenyans to remain vigilant. It CANNOT remain business as usual, because we are all keen to have a strong and united Kenya after the next general elections, which will be the first under the new governance structure.Maintaining peace, harmony, cohesion and integration is a responsibility of every Kenyan. The Commission will continue to work with all Kenyans to ensure sustainable peace, which can herald this country to realize vision 2030.
Mzalendo N. Kibunjia, PhD, EBS