By JULIUS MBALUTO
In a book tilted ‘A theory of justice’ Philosopher and the writer John Rawls argues that those who hold extreme views against the majority in any society should not be given public platforms.
What does this mean? You see, we live in societies where given the chance everyone would carry on doing what they wish to regardless of the consequences therein. It is human nature to pursue self-interests in most of the things people do.
However, modern societies are regulated by a framework which ensures all live together harmoniously. This framework reflects on justice and fairness. It reflects on freedoms we all enjoy. It reflects on rights which we hold as individuals. Without such legal framework, we shall live in anarchy.
This therefore calls for tolerance of divergent views. It calls for respect to those who hold those divergent views. It calls for protection of the rights of those who hold such views. However, as John Rawls would have it, only those who hold extreme views like a man who picks up a microphone and calls for many people to be discriminated against or even killed, such characters, John advocates they should be denied access to any public platform.
The reason for this is that whatever they say threatens to tear the society apart. In essence, John argues that your rights stop where mine start. Hence, tolerance for each other remain the driving force for a peaceful co-existence by all members of any society.
Watching the current political trends in Kenya, I can say for sure the Kenyan public platforms have been taken over by politicians who wants power so desperately and to get it, they don’t care who gets hurt on the way, they simply want power by any means necessary.
Our politicians, across board never stop to engage in politics regardless of where they are. We see them in funerals where some even forget to condole the bereaved families and engage in their politics straightaway. We have seen them in Churches where campaigning for popular narratives seems to have been normalized.
These politicians keep the country on a political campaign mode throughout. Just imagine the impact of this on development and the economy of the country.
Take Jubilee government for example. The President Uhuru Kenyatta focused on Big Four Agenda and BBI (Building Bridges Initiative) but his deputy William Ruto opposes BBI and is busy campaigning for 2022 elections.
Well, In his novel, Chinua Achebe once wrote, “the centre cannot hold, things fall apart”. In the bible too, it is written, a house divided amongst itself cannot stand.
Without any shadow of doubt, Kenya is experiencing serious political divisions. At the national level, we have William Ruto’s Hustler movement and as well the BBI (Building Bridges Initiative) led by the President Uhuru Kenyatta and former PM Rt Hon Raila Odinga both going at it hammer and tongs.
We have seen politicians insulting their opponents and worst still paying goons to stone their opponents. The violence in Kenol in Muranga County in Kenya, the stoning of Raila’s convoy by supporters of Deputy President William Ruto at Githurai and the violence in Kisii where politicians clobbered each other during a funeral should awaken us to the great danger political intolerance poses.
We have also seen cars and buses been burned because of the hustler verses dynasties narrative. It is imperative that Kenyan leaders sober up, pose for a moment and for once know words have power.
Words can build. Words can tear. Words can ignite fire. Words can put off fire. Every word uttered matter. So Kenyan leaders, preach peace, learn to tolerate political differences and know that we only have one country which we intend to preserve.