Breaking up Kenya over disputed elections can never be an option

Can someone please tell me how dismembering this country to accommodate the wishes of election losers will avert the subversion of the will of the people?

Such verbal acrobatics by the likes of economist David Ndii are extremely dangerous. Unless people who hold similar views want to declare civil war, there is no way a central tenet of our Constitution that defines Kenya as a unitary state can be dispensed with so casually.

It is barely a week since millions of Kenyans heaved sigh of relief when the opposition coalition decided to resort to the Supreme Court’s arbitration over the disputed presidential election results.

But now some people seem to be intent on inciting anarchy as the only cure to so-called fraudulent elections, which begs the question as to why they decided to waste the Court’s time in the first place.

Preaching separatism due to disenchantment with election results is a very primitive reaction.


There is no doubt that Kenya suffers from a myriad of ailments, a number of which, like negative ethnicity and corruption, seem to be chronic, but breaking up the country into two unviable state-lets is not an option. Not unless other methods of ensuring inclusion, righting past wrongs and addressing “historical injustices” have been tried and failed.

Our intellectuals should not employ hair-splitting logic while calling for the balkanisation of the country.

Nobody pretends that all is well in Kenya just because the Jubilee Party won the election. It is possible the party won because of superior campaign strategy and it is also possible that the learned judges of the Supreme Court may hold a different opinion on the outcome.

But then for senior politicians to say that even this Court of last resort is not to be trusted indicates there never was any intention on the part of the opposition to concede defeat even if they lost, thus usurping the will of the majority in favour of the minority.

I am not a lawyer and do not know the frontiers of what connotes treason, but for parties that willingly sought legal arbitration to lay the ground-work for insurrection indicates a very high level of irresponsibility.


The reason I describe some utterances by a few Nasa operatives as semantic nonsense is that you cannot in one breath take your case to court and then say with a straight face that you didn’t do it because you wanted power but to ensure electoral reforms are instituted so that nobody ever tries to steal an election again.

If the latter was the only aim, then the best way would have been to concede and then turn to the people through their representatives to seek ways of effecting even more electoral reforms.

Translated in lay terms, what Dr Ndii and his ilk in ODM are saying is that if the Supreme Court upholds President Kenyatta’s election, then the opposition will make this country ungovernable.

That is possible but improbable. Ours is a country whose politics is anchored on the rule of law, and if some people want to rewrite the rules that govern a democracy, then this course of action smacks of overt desperation bordering on criminal intent.

By all means, let us have tighter electoral reforms. However, that can only happen when mindless populism does not hold sway.


Although I agree with those who argue that two ethnic communities cannot forever lord it over the rest of Kenyans, calling for a so-called “self-determination” is a sure recipe for bloodshed.

Less controverted ways can, and must, be found to bring about change in how we choose our leaders.

There is no need to invoke fire and brimstone every time someone loses an election. Secession of any part of Kenya is not the solution — not unless someone wants to go down in history as the one who brought about carnage and suffering of unimaginable proportions in an otherwise peaceful nation.

We must internalise the lessons of Biafra when the Igbo sought to go their own way.

Their cause was legitimate; they had been ruled by a succession of military dictatorships and their people were being persecuted in the north.

However, in the end, the millions who died in the battle-field and through starvation cannot be said to have been enough justification for civil war.

Do we really want to go that way just to satisfy an individual’s craving for power?

 Magesha Ngwiri is a consultant editor. [email protected]

Preaching separatism due to disenchantment with election results is a very primitive reaction.

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