On Tuesday, 27th November 2019, Kenyan people from all parts of the country assembled at Bomas of Kenya and celebrated the inauguration of the BBI report to the public. The 156 page report had nine points’ agenda and a theme titled Building Bridges to a united Kenya: from a nation of blood ties to a nation of ideas. In its first page, the Presidential Task Force on Building Bridges to Unity addressed the President of the Republic with a commentary that stated,”…it was our privilege, as per the mandate to evaluate the national challenges outlined in the Joint Communique of Building Bridges to a new Kenyan Nation, and having done so, make practical recommendation and reform proposals that build lasting unity.” In his Speech during the BBI launch, the President said, “Let us focus on what unites us and makes us cohesive and let us remove negative ethnicity.”
In view of the above, It’s well-known then that the BBI project is thought to call for unity hence finding various ways that would sustain unity in a nation. Indeed the call for unity and efforts to unify people living in Kenya is not a new phenomenon. On Sunday 6th of September 2016, majority leader of Kenyan parliament, Aden Duale at a rally in Mlango Kubwa was heard saying, ‘’The 2017 election will be between Jubilee that believes in unity of 42 tribes of Kenya and others who are out there to divide the country with tribal politics.’’ Using the same platform, Johnstone Sakaja, nominated JAP MP said, ‘’It’s about time that we said no to tribal cocoons in the name of political party. Jubilee has come to unite Kenya under one roof.’’ During the launch on of Jubilee part at Kasarani, the party leader, Mr. Kenyatta said,’’…the party we launch here today is an expression of our unity..’’
This therefore means that back then, political leaders believed that unity would only be achieved through merging of political parties.
Similarly, Unity calls were also heard in 2008 when the nation was recovering from post-election violence. Through The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga signed an agreement for the implementation of the recommendations of the commission of inquiry into post-election violence hoping that Unity among people would be fostered once and for all.
Umar ibn al Khatatab, the second Khalifah of Muslims said,’’ There is no Islam without unity, no unity without leadership, no leadership without obedience.’’ From such a quote, it is understood that the existence of any nation depends on existence of unity of people in such a nation. Furthermore, for a nation to realize success, unity must always exist in it. It’s no wonder therefore that all nations would always strive to foster and maintain unity among its people.
Ever since independence, many African states have always thought that unity among its people of many tribes is achievable through political parties, dialogue and reconciliation forums. Indeed these narratives have sometimes seen states forming single political parties, calling for either merging or making coalition of different political parties, or forming dialogue forums and initiatives that end with signing peace accords or constitution amendments. Because of this false principle of bringing unity among people of a nation, it has always been natural to see states being fragile with possibility of braking away. The calls of cessations, post-election violence, tribal sentiments among the people of a nation are just a few examples of how disunited the people of Africa are. For sure it’s only the mercy of western ideological states that makes people of Africa seem to hold in unity despite all odds.
Indeed it is a fact that political parties are not tools for uniting people in a country. It should be realized that the work of a political party is to recruit and campaign for a candidate so as to hold an office of authority and as well account the government.
Similarly, initiative such as BBI are also not tools for uniting the people in a country. Infact such tools divide people more than unite them. This is because, the basis at which they are formed are that of securing interests of few individuals hence when such interest are no longer attainable so is the unity. Since BBI was formed at the behest of two leaders, it’s then natural that BBI will find its self being opposed thus dividing people further as long as other people’s interest are not captured .This was evident during the launching of BBI when Senator Murkomen said, “The way Mr Mohamed is running the program defeats the whole purpose of this gathering,” Mr Murkomen charged. “It’s very clear those perceived to hold alternative opinion have not been invited to speak,” he said.
This therefore confirms that BBI will actually divide more than unite. While attending a church service at the Full Gospel Gatunduri Church in Embu, William Ruto said that the BBI would be stopped if it will divide Kenyans. “This story we’re being told about nobody can stop reggae, if the reggae is what we’re seeing — the ethnicity that is being preached in BBI rallies, the ethnic profiling of communities, hate and the campaign pitting one community against another, if that is the reggae they’re talking about, my friends, reggae will stop.” He said.
In conclusion, the BBI initiative is not going to bring everlasting unity among the people of Kenya. What shall bring unity among the people of a nation is an ideology in which a civilization emanates. When people of a nation believe in a certain ideology, its expected of them to have a common thought, sensation and a system of running their affairs. The commonness of thought, sensation and a system naturally results to see people of a nation being united at all times in either the presences or absence of initiatives and political parties.
For unity of people to be realized, the dream of making a country to be an ideological state needs to be made into reality. Political leaders therefore for the purpose of uniting the people of a nation, need to intensify the calls for their African nations to seize from being subservient states orbiting around the leading colonialist states. Such sincere calls would eventually make a state being Ideological hence bringing unity among the people of a nation.
March 1, 2020.