UNITY, AN OUTCOME NOT A SOURCE MATERIAL
No object in nature is completely autonomous, and when this principle of interdependence becomes deliberate and decisive, you will realize that unity is essentially an output human characteristic that draws from the (net)worth of every individual but in a networking dimension.
As a treatise, we may recall that the post-election protests of the 2017 presidential election in Kenya recorded at least 100 deaths of opposition protesters and bystanders in Nairobi and western Kenya alone. In July 2019, an administration police officer was charged with the killing of a student, Evans Njoroge. Like 19 year old Daniel Usman who was killed on February 23, 2019 in Anyigba, Evans was shot on March 10, 2018, at close range at the back of his head for election-related purposes. Unlike Evans, no one has been charged in Daniel’s case.
Also, in 2017, like the seared body of Mrs. Acheju Salome Abu, the mutilated remains of Chris Mando, acting director for Information and Communications Technology at the commission that oversaw the Presidential elections in Kenya, was discovered in a forest around the capital.
Before Kenya’s bloodbath, about 26yrs ago, the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana, the Rwandan President on 6 April 1994 created a power vacuum that berthed the genocidal killings of Tutsis and moderate Hutus on a scale and level of brutality that shocked the world: An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, about 70% of the country’s Tutsi population.
Almost three decades on, Rwanda has emerged as the most peaceful, secure and fastest growing economy in Africa not minding it has a GDP lower than the total assets plus contingent liabilities of Zenith Bank. Rwanda’s feat is the outcome of a strategy that focused on the processes and not the problems leveraging a tactic that did not abuse justice in favour of anyone.
“Forgive me” were the two words that stood out in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation address in Nairobi a few weeks ago in a bid to unite Kenyans after a disruptive, very divisive and deadly electioneering/politicking. His speech clearly advanced the spirit of conciliation with a clear admonition, “that if we don’t put an end to unrestrained political competition, it will put an end to Kenya”. He began from accepting he/they were wrong, asking for forgiveness upon which he activated the calls for unity.
Back home, the extent of heartlessness and obnoxious human crudity that typified our last electoral ‘experiments’ are put mildly festooned in bizarre opacities and cutouts shrouded in a strange culture of ‘extemporizations’. Not a few were gravely henpecked and frightened into acquiescence by ferocious bloodhounds and the vestiges and scars from that misadventure have seemingly become the “Frankenstein Monster” of some individuals and the “Achilles heels” of our nationality.
Quite sad but, unfortunately, this represents the true diary of how abysmally we have fallen as a people. The dissonance from noises, attitude of buck-passing, the crabs in a bucket disposition and the ease of compromise do more to becloud the future and further complicate our indiscretion at a time prickling with extraordinary challenges in the face of self-inflicted but surmountable dilemmas.
An admixture of the touchdown points of the appreciable successes in Kenya and Rwanda put forward two learning points; a focus on the processes (and not the problems) and an unusual capacity to forgive (provided the aggressor accepts s/he was wrong at all) if only to free the requisite energies for a pullback and push forward.
Clearly, most of the misdemeanors, malfeasance and inactions of our recent history cannot and would not fade into oblivion on account of the short character of the human memory and the absence of a platform for addressing latent and existential tensions and frustrations. However, procrastination could worsen the situation and also make collaboration(s) a big casualty.
To this end, to unite with understanding by tolerating and accepting to work together in recognition of the uniqueness of others, and an appreciation of what they have to contribute to the common interest is needed but this must be preceded by accepting misdemeanors, asking for forgiveness/understanding. For the records, every individual is unique, and every race and nation have a unique contribution to make in producing the rich variety of humanity in a society.
Because assumption is the lowest form of knowledge, I shall be circumspect until the “agent provocateur’ does the needful which would not be easy if we insist on following where the current path leads. We should, instead, “go where there is no path and leave a trail” because sometimes, we must eschew considerations of conscience and “facts” if we must achieve unanimously even as a heterogonous group of people.
The principles of understanding should be applied, not from condescension, window-dressing or patronage, but from a recognition that in working together for the common good, we benefit mankind and by extension, ourselves. The main obstacles to such recognitions and willing cooperation include pride and a bloated feeling of superiority which we must upend if we must move forward. We must contribute to the common good by exercising the basic tenets of good citizenship and good neighborliness in caring for and taking active interest in the whole of society pursuing harmony and well-being for all and respecting cultural and philosophical differences. We can then participate actively and willingly in sharing the responsibility for building a viable and sustainable people and nation.
Out of the ashes of past acrimony, a new seed of hope must sprout. The depressing pictures/portrayals that seemingly blight prospects for a renaissance must give way to belting new templates for transformational and adaptive leadership. We must always as a matter of expediency put-in our best to achieve the exceptional and desired outcomes but from a realization that you do not allow a pilot to fly a plane on account of popularity; ambidexterity and agility are key.
Like in Kenya and Rwanda, in the end, unity must exist for any kind of progress to manifest but unity (in itself) is a phenomenon that respects context and is circumstantially the product of three things; acceptance of guilt, plea for forgiveness/understanding and absolute forgiveness. Dr Victor Adoji