Shun Divisive Politics
By Abdirahman Ahmed Ali,
The Just concluded Wajir West parliamentary by-election divided the communities in unprecedented way. Let’s shun divisive and hateful messages. It may have seemed like a normal election but the effects linger, often continuing to cause deeper wounds than we know. The constituency, it appears, is becoming more divided right now. As it does, I’m hoping the elites can become more united—even as the politics of our county polarize. But, it is in the social media as well, so let’s start there as the educated elites of Wajir West. We have a lot of work to do to regain our civility, reconcile with our brothers and sisters, and establish peace in Wajir West. The Wajerians are watching, and they were pelted by the mud we threw. They saw us ostracize people who voted for “the other guy.” They heard us call people “Satanic.” and “Tribal” yet terming ourselves “Humble” and “Victims”. Now that it is over, we must learn from previous experience and mend relationships. If we do not, we further damage our witness in a world that is short on love and truth and long on hate and lies.
It is long past time to de-escalate. My advice to social media users is leave the political rhetoric to the political operatives. This is specifically directed at leaders. It is good and even important to have ideas and positions on certain matters. You should be able to speak wisely and intelligently into matters of great importance. People look to you to help them form a worldview so watch what you share in your pages. In other words, we need to be speaking on these things from a balanced perspective, not as if we are the spokesperson for Candidate A or B. If people now see you as a political pundit or you must be one, then preach peace and unity. Quit painting your brothers and sisters in Islam with a broad brush. When we misrepresent a person simply because he or she chose a candidate of which we don’t approve, we create a toxic environment in the constituency that does not allow for civil dialogue and hurts the opportunity for reconciliation. Be truth sharers in social media and avoid sharing false news. It might give you likes and comments but your actions will one day come back to haunt you. If we will avoid these pitfalls, and repent for any missteps we made so far, we can move forward with a better testimony and bond with our fellow westerners. I am not sure how to bring the county together. But, we have to bring the constituency closer together—even when we disagree on politics because people of Wajir West are one “Community” living side by side, sharing pains and gains and cannot afford to be divided especially along political lines. A divided nation is a tragedy. But a divided community is a travesty. We are one body and it’s time to get back together and live in harmony.
Mr Abdirahman, is a former Ademasajida ward Councillor.