By ALLY JAMAH
Speaking on Tuesday during a conference to assess risks to stability ahead of polls, the experts said possibilities of ethnic conflagration are high in some counties, as rival ethnic groups or clans prepare to “take charge”.
“In multi-ethnic counties, tensions are already high. Sentiments of political and economic marginalisation are publicly expressed in Isiolo, Wajir, Migori, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Trans Nzoia counties,” said Shadrack Gutto, a Kenyan scholar from the University of South Africa.
They cited Marsabit and Mandera where conflict has already broken out as different clans form alliances to “lock out” perceived rivals in control of power and resources. They called for a comprehensive plan to mitigate conflicts flashpoints to work out possible power and resource-sharing formulas.
Regarding national politics, scholars expressed concern many politicians have not learnt the lessons of 2007 post-election violence since they base their politics on whipping up ethnic emotions and dividing the country into ethnic voting blocs.
“Politicians repeat in rallies that no blood will be shed again. But in practice, their brand of politics still raises tensions since it is based on personalities rather than issues,” said President of the Africa Policy Institute Peter kagwanja.
Prof Kagwanja said robust political competition does not have to degenerate into national tension if they are civil and issue-based.
“We need to place the country first as opposed to individuals. Whoever wins or loses is still a Kenyan and we should all be ready to accept the outcome of the election if it done freely and fairly,” he said.