Human Rights

Polls versus Human Rights

In past years and at present, Kenya and the world at large have made considerable efforts to preserve the human rights. Different world’s organizations such as the United Nations have boldly stepped up with the same aim. Despite their unrelenting efforts and determination to ensure that people enjoy their full rights as humans, their efforts are still undermined through different actions or inactions.

From the rights that seem less important to ones that are perceived to hold more weight like right to life, the general rule of thumb is that all rights matter. This rights have been further put in groups such as children’s rights, youth’s rights, rights of the aged and marginalized communities. These are the rights that are being undermined by quite a number of factors such as violent extremism, intolerance and incitement.
These factors are among the most serious threats to global human rights and security. And in Kenya it boils down to ethnicity. This cases, you will accede with me, have not been handled with the seriousness they deserve as most of the perpetrators who engaged in such heinous crimes are still walking on streets of big cities commanding power and authority.

Violent extremism, is actions of people who support or use violence to achieve ideological, religious or political goals, whereas intolerance is the unwillingness to accept views, beliefs or behaviors that differ from one’s own. Incitement in this case is an action of provoking unlawful behavior or urging someone to behave unlawfully. All these factors once implemented can work to critically undermine universal human rights.

A flashback of events in the year 2007, shows what it means to undermine human rights. The scale and the speed of violence that engulfed Kenya following the controversial presidential elections of December 27th, 2007 shocked both Kenya and the world at large. The post-election demonstration and violence resulted to more than 1,100 killings and so many people being displaced, this was truly a major blow to the human rights campaigners.

Politics in Kenya has become to a large extent about competition between ethnic groups. And apart from ethnicity, inciters have now grown roots. These issues can steam up violence at any moment. It is high time our political leaders start working on responsible politics. Irresponsible politics only create fertile grounds for violence, and as a matter of fact, these political leaders are just at the center of it all, they either steer us to safe shores or cause us to drown in the deep violent waters.

Elections are just around the corner this year and ideally we are in a struggle for good governance, equality and fairness. As we work to uphold the three values let us put in our minds that, above all human rights matter. Make it a personal initiative to care for people around you whether they are of a different tribe or probably they do not support your candidate. I paraphrase the governor of Uasin Gishu who said, “politics should be in the lungs so that we can breathe it out when it gets toxic and not in the heart.”

To further ensure accountability for human rights abuses and the prevention for future abuses in a bid to uphold human rights, the government should ensure inciters and perpetrators are not appointed to government offices and leaders should embrace dialogue and reconciliation processes for a better and safer Kenya even after the elections.

About author

Tabitha Marion is a student of journalism and Mass communication in Masinde Muliro university. Apart from that, I am a prolific writer and a great speaker. I write on matters of gender, human rights and democracy. Most days you can find me working on articles and recording audios for a short recorded program in MMUST FM radio station. Currently, I am working on a podcast project that still echoes gender equality, human rights and democracy. In my writing I intend to inform, inspire and stir a change in people's perspective on the issues I write on. Basically, to be a voice to the voiceless. I quote Nelson Mandela, "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”
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