How economics can help bridge the political divide


This is an excerpt from the original article, which can be found in full on Business Daily Africa at

Last year’s election highlighted the deep and bitter political divide among Kenyans, divisions usually rooted in tribal identity politics. However, if one were to ask Kenyans what they would want for the country, one would likely find similar answers across the political divide.

We want good schools and hospitals, decent jobs, roads, security, shelter, an end to corruption and freedom from hunger and poverty.

And since Kenyan politics is renowned for not being rooted in ideology, it is possible that individuals from opposite sides of the political divide would have similar views on how the government can better provide services and stimulate economic development. It is only in Kenya that two people may have identical ideologies of how they want the country to run, but then vote for different candidates due to tribal identity.

This conundrum is one that can be tapped into in order to unite us. The fact that we share concerns across political divides ought to be leveraged to bring the country together.

Rather than focusing on the politics of identity, Kenyans ought to focus on the politics of issues such that both the ruling party and opposition engage us on how they will or would improve the socio-economic status. Kenyans could unite and, as a people, make the same demands regardless of which political party is in power.

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