BWIRE: Why “cockroaches, dogs” coded talk is dangerous

By Victor Bwire

Hapana! No! Stop it! It’s unacceptable! We cannot allow the use of coded language meant to isolate Kenyans and create tension in the country to continue, while relevant agencies and Kenyans watch.

We tell our leaders, especially the political class to think outside the short gains and focus on the 2022 elections to drag the country into abyss.

The language of “cockroaches, madoaadoa, outsider”, come 2022, you will see or hotbed and ngome” and related insults, hateful language is unacceptable in our current dispensation. The country was enjoying some bit of peace despite the economic hardships, and now for the politicians to engage in an overdrive to create chaos and hatred all of a sudden is to say the least selfish.

The language of “we” versus “them” is very dangerous, and those using it must rethink deeply where the country has come from. The Country is bigger that individuals.

Even outside the BBI, it’s time the leadership of the major political parties in the country came together and diffused the tension that is building up in the country; otherwise, unfortunately, we are headed to danger. While I might sound fear mongering, the conditions being witnessed especially from various leaders and discussions online, point to a country that needs national healing and reconciliation. I am afraid, what is happening and the hatred that is boiling threatens our national security and nationhood.

Kenya can easily break into anarchy, if we allow such extreme positions that are being expressed by our leaders, as the general public has started joining the bandwagon; losing patience and direction, and started vomiting such dangerous and poisonous words as currently being spewed online and via the media.

Responsible national and non-state institutions must wake up, not stop Kenyans from talking but to ensure responsible conservations that while allowing differing of opinion, are helpful to the country and Kenyans.

While the ongoing political processes especially ahead of the 2022 elections and likely political formations present serious challenges to the country and are pushing people to start saying or imagining the impossible, this should not be the case; we need to manage these processes in a mature and responsible manner. It’s wrong to start radicalizing Kenya voters along tribal and ethnic lines for whatever reason.

Looking at the venom by Kenyans online led by politicians, using their personal online platforms, caution must be taken. While previously, and more specifically following the 2007 post- election violence, media was said to have contributed to violence – by the way they covered the elections related issues-this time round- the hatred and incitement has been pushed online.

The BBI, by elections and 2022 political politics are reminding us once more that tribalism in Kenyan is not for illiterates and average Kenyans- tribalism in Kenya is an elite problem. It’s the elites who are tribal to the tilt in this country-the words and expressions on the online forums are dangerous- and are being peddled by the elites who can access and use the forums.

They are angry and tribal because- they are fighting over resources, opportunities and jobs-guys are hungry because there is traffic jam- because there are blackouts- and they throw venom at each badly and angrily-and especially if those in authority in those institutions responsible- do not come from their tribe or communities.

It’s the elites who want a seat at the political table, or scare resources or jobs who are angry that- and they are expressing badly.

Media, religious leaders, professional bodies must join relevant Government agencies in dealing with this rising hatred, hate messages and tensions that are building up across the country.

Would it be prudent that BBI original report is released and may be with the leadership of the various political and other sectors, the country refocuses on ways of national reconciliation.

The author is the Programmes Manager at the Media Council of Kenya

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