Secession will not solve electoral injustices

There is nothing more annoying than electoral and economic injustices because they deny people their fair share of political power and economic resources.

When Kenyans wanted to end the electoral and economic injustices witnessed under one-party dictatorship, they created counties but these have ended up being dominated by ethnic elites.

With the failure of devolution and multiparty democracy to create an equitable society, there is an explosive suggestion that Kenyan communities should divorce or split and become tiny ethnic republics that Julius Nyerere used to call viinchi.

But will our electoral problems be solved by splitting Kenya into tiny ethnic states like former Yugoslavia and will Africans solve their problems through false solutions such as ethnic federalism, military dictatorship, rotational presidency that killed Yugoslavia, government of national unity that we have tried already, no-party democracy that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni toyed with or redrawing the map?


Through courts, Kenya can even annul our recent elections and have others that are free and fair, but we should not think of splitting the country into tiny ethnic states merely to have power.

Secession is an extreme measure.

It should not be rushed into as a solution to oppression, rigging of elections that I have been a victim of or dictatorship as Kenyan Somali elites tried through the Shifta War, the Coast elites through Mombasa Republican Council and Kikuyu elites through Gema in 1998. 

Portraying secession as the ultimate solution, ethnic elites propose that the best and surest way to end negative ethnicity and discrimination is to dissolve national boundaries and give every community a country of its own.

Yet creating ethnic states will perhaps be the worst crime as it will make Africa weak and vulnerable.


The argument goes that since so many ethnic communities no longer coexist in a peaceful marriage, splitting up Africa is the only viable solution.

And is is not entirely new.

In an effort to create a Biafran state for the Ibo of Nigeria, a bloody war was fought and millions killed.

There have also been ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia, Kenya, Zanzibar, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. There are more than 2,000 ethnic groups in Africa.


As George Ayittey asks in Africa in Chaos: “Can we survive with more than a thousand little ‘Djiboutis’, each with its own currency, flag, national airline with a one-plane fleet and a Swiss bank account for the president”?  

The way to secure peace and solutions to our problems is not to entrench negative ethnicity.

People are safer, more prosperous and happier when united.

Africa must learn a lesson from the United States and the European Union and not from the split-up former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

When many communities co-exist, they reinforce one another’s security.


When they separate, they become one another’s potential enemy. In fact, countries can only separate and secede through war and blood.

A more viable approach to an ethnic redrawing of the map of Africa is to join communities and countries into larger countries.

Prof Makau Mutua has suggested that the 54 African states be compressed into 14 larger ones. Even better, Africa could become one country.

We need leaders to embrace Pan-Africanism and the vision of one united and stronger Africa.


To end the danger of splitting Kenya, we need a system based on sharing power and wealth that is not built on some people and communities exploiting others.

It must be socialist, democratic, and humanist. Through socialism, it will distribute resources to all.

Through democracy, it will give people power. Through humanism, it will keep people unified.

Let us preserve, not end the marriage of our communities. It is possible if we share power and resources and treat one another better.

Mr Wamwere is a veteran politician. [email protected]

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