Peace Propaganda in Kenya Might Just Save Kenya
It’s Thursday night, I am watching TV following the election results. The slow rate of returns gives me much time to think of what is going on in Kenya. I remember of something I overheard at the iHub. Someone said that she has never seen anywhere with so much peace propaganda. Now, on its own propaganda is usually a bad word. However, when coupled with peace, it gets me excited. I am hopeful of the future of Kenya.
I go on to do some research to see how extensive this peace propaganda is. True to it, Kenya is filled with messages and threats of peace. I say threats because if you said anything against peace, you are faced with the wrath of the whole country (Ask CNN). The first thing I notice is the TV. Every TV station has taken an interesting approach to this election. Every reporter says the word peace at least once every ten minutes. When there is nothing to report, the TV is running Ads about peace. They are reminding people that #peace is important for Kenya.
Next, I listen to Radio. Every message I have heard on the radio, whether from Classic FM or Kameme FM or Musii FM or any other vernacular radio, peace is being dealt out every minute. Just before the election, I happened to listen to Classic FM’s Maina Kageni explaining that in the 2007 election, 4 million people did not vote. I guess people heard that and took initiative (I had the pleasure of queuing for seven hours in my hometown).
Social media is beaming with peace propaganda. Twitter trends showed that on Election Day, #peace trended, solely because of #kenyansOnTwitter. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are being used to spread peace propaganda. Any comment that threatens the peace is dealt with ruthlessly (with peace messages of course). I am impressed at how, even the most cynical people on social media are moving with the tide of peace propaganda. YouTube channels with wide viewership in Kenya, such as XYZ and Mavulture are using their popularity to promote peace in the country.
This brings me to music, my favorite peace propaganda. In 2008, a sight of the General Service Union (GSU) would send fear to anyone. They were feared for their brutal approach to riot control. Now they are featuring Rufftone on a peace song. The song, Mungu Baba (Lord Father), is a prayer for peace featuring the national youth orchestra. Besides it catchy melody, it inspires Kenyans to see the police as just fellow Kenyans. There are other musicians preaching the peace message using their music. Juliani is leading the Mavulture movement and Camp Mulla recently released their peace track, If you believe. The music is inspiring and is filled with peace propaganda. I love it.
Moving on, I look into film. Film in Kenya is growing at an encouraging pace. From the lead actor of Nairobi Half Life, we get Nisisi (It’s we). Late 3rd of March, I happened to catch the film of Citizen TV. The movie dealt with the issues of 2008 post election violence that left our brothers and sisters dead by the hand of their neighbors. It also deals with the potential of politicians to cause chaos through divisive politics. The film evoked guilt and sorrow for the people whose lives were turned upside down. The film made me wake up early the next day and spend 7 hours on the queue with fellow Kenyans talking of the peace that Kenya deserves.
Other artists are making a difference by furthering the peace propaganda messages through creative arts. Some time in 2012, Nairobians awoke to provocative graffiti in the city center. The art demonstrated how the greedy politicians had divided the country. This art may have had a small impact at the time but it had an impact for the thousands who passed the graffiti. This has inspired others to share such thought provoking art on social media.
Now it is my turn to contribute to the peace propaganda movement. Peace leads to development. The rule of law and respect for our new constitution is the most important thing right now. I have seen politicians trying to influence the public through press conferences commenting on the election. These same politicians dealt a blow to Kenyans in 2008. They should be shunned and forced to follow due process. No matter who becomes the fourth president of Kenya, we must keep the peace. As 2013 rolls on and we draw closer to 2030, peace is the fuel we need to get there. Keep and protect the peace.