What is National Integration?
Integration means unification into a whole. - The act of combining or bring together various parts in a way that makes them one. National integration refers to the process by which various components of a nation are brought together into a whole leading to national unity.
Importance of National Integration
Why is National Integration a priority in Kenya?
- National integration Helps in social and economic development through enhanced national unity.
- It develops a sense of national direction, facilitating unified goals and co-operation.
- It enhances political stability and security by eliminating suspicion.
- Promotes peaceful coexistence of different tribes and races hence leading to peace and harmony.
- Promotes collective responsibility due to easier, more efficient and accurate communication.
- It enables a country to develop a sense of direction as national goals are communicated to the people in the spirit of national integration.
- It leads to achievement of easier, more accurate communication as the nation increases efforts of national integration.
Factors that promote national unity in Kenya
- The constitution. This is a set of rules agreed upon by a group of people who have chosen to live together. It provides for equality of all Kenyans before the law. It Guarantees equal opportunities to all Kenyans. It Provides protection to individuals against any form of discrimination/bill of rights. It provides for a unitary government
- Education. The curriculum aims at ensuring that pupils and students focus on issues that unite them. The integrated education system encourages the children to accept one another as Kenyans. Teaching of history in schools encourages unity. Religious studies taught in schools promote respect for the Supreme Being and fellow human beings. Music and drama festivals in schools promote unity among students.
- One government. Our one government, with the three arms is recognized by each Kenyans a body that runs the affairs of the nation.
- The presidency. Kenya has one president despite the diversity in parties and tribes. The presidency unites Kenyans.
- National language. The use of Kiswahili as the official language enables Kenyans to interact freely. Kiswahili became a national language in 1975. It helps overcome communication barriers and gives Kenyans a sense of belonging and identity
- Economic growth. The government attempts to provide social amenities to Kenyans without bias. It has tried to achieve equitable distribution of economic resources. Urbanization promotes socialization and co-existence among Kenyans. There also the use of a common currency giving Kenyans a sense of nationhood. The policy of offering equal employment opportunities to all Kenyans has enabled Kenyans to work in various parts of the country where they interact freely.
- National activities. National holidays remind Kenyans of their history. Agricultural shows enables different economic sectors display and advertize their goods. Games and sports promote unity as they bring together people of different communities for a common cause.
- Mass media. The mass media in Kenya is instrumental in ensuring that information is disseminated to all at the same time. It enables Kenyans from all parts to contribute to national debates.
- Symbols of National unity. National anthem promotes a sense of belonging among Kenyans and gives them an identity. Existence of the national flag symbolizes national unity.
- The government encourages social, economic interaction among Kenyans e.g. through marriages, worship etc.
Factors that undermine national unity in Kenya
- Tribalism – this is the practice of favouring people who are from one’s own ethnic group in employment, admission to schools and allocation of resources. Others end up being discriminated against thus leading to hatred and enmity.
- Nepotism –this is the practice of people favouring their relatives. This vice is similar to tribalism
- The unequal distribution of resources causes animosity between those who are favoured and those who are not.
- Political wrangles / Ethnic conflicts / clashes discourage co-operation among the citizens.
- Corruption – asking for and offering of bribes to obtain and give services violates people’s rights to equal treatment. Corruption creates suspicion and hatred among people since those who cannot afford to bribe feel cheated and frustrated.
- Discrimination on the basis of gender denies people the right to participate equally in national development.
- Racism. This is discrimination on the basis of colour/ race. This creates hatred and suspicious among people. This was a common cause of disunity during the colonial days.
- Religious conflicts. In Kenya, conflicts between the Muslims and Catholics in 2000 led to destruction of a catholic church in Nairobi. Intolerance of other people’s religions creates disunity.
- Party membership. Multipartism in Kenya has to some extend become a cause of disunity. The country regularly becomes polarized on party lines especially when we near general elections. Sometimes members of parties such as TNA, ODM, UDF, URP etc don’t see eye to eye during campaigns. There has also been discrimination on the basis of party membership.
- Poverty. When people lack basic needs such as food, education, health, shelter and clothing, anti-social behaviour arise. For example, stealing and violence. Criminal activities create fear and suspicion and therefore discourage national unity.
- Ignorance. Lack of knowledge creates intolerance of other people’s views and lack of appreciation of the development taking place around. This may create unnecessary division.
Steps have been taken by the Kenyan government to promote national integration since independence.
- The government has developed national symbols like the flag, anthem, and the court of arms. These symbols have helped to identify us as one nation.
- Immediately after independence the then only major opposition party, KADU was disbanded to have a single party system. However this did not work for long as Multipartism was inevitably reintroduced.
- The government also set up a national curriculum in our educational institutions. This creates a sense of oneness despite the diversity.
- Declaring Kiswahili a national language. In 1975, Kiswahili was made a national language of communication as a step towards curbing rampant tribalism. This has greatly assisted as Kenyans of different diversity can communicate.
- Promotion and fostering Harambee spirit. This has led to Collective participation in development programmes by people from different groups which have promoted national unity.
- During the reign of president Moi the Nyayo philosophy of peace love and unity was introduced. It stressed the concept of being mindful of other people’s welfare. It is closely related to the principal of mutual social responsibility as embodied in African socialism.
- A new constitution in Kenya was promulgated in august 2010. This constitution promises a lot of hope in terms of unity as it may be an important tool of fighting all vices that have discouraged unity. It also stresses equal rights for all.
- The government has tried to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor through the creation of an equalization fund under the new constitution. Through this fund, development easily trickles down to reach the disadvantaged.
- Abolition of racial schools hence enrolling students of different backgrounds in the same schools. /Ethnic balance in public institutions.
- The teaching of history in schools has helped to create a sense of oneness as Kenyans realize that they share a common history.
- Promotion of games, sports, drama and cultural activities. National games at school and college level have been a source of interaction. This is a way of developing a common culture in the country
- The government has made use of media to propagate unity.
- Abolition of ethnic organizations and groupings.
- Promotion of national public service i.e. civil servants can serve anywhere in the country..
Conflict refers to a situation in which people or groups are involved in serious disagreements, or disputes. Conflict resolution refers to the process of settling a dispute when it occurs
Levels of conflicts found in Kenya
- Individual versus individual. This is where two people disagree for political, economic or social reasons.
- Group versus group. This type of conflict involves one group against another also due to political, social and economic reasons.
- Individual versus state. Such a conflict of an individual against the state may be political especially one feels his/her rights are being violated by the state.
- State versus state. This is a case where a state is in disagreement with another state maybe over boundary like was the case between Kenya and Uganda during the reign if Idi Amin dada
- Group versus state. This may be caused by for example a trade union demanding the improvement of the terms and conditions of service of its members. For example the standoff between KNUT and KUPPET on one hand and the government over harmonization of the salaries of teachers with those of civil servants in 2012 leading to a countrywide strike in September 2012.
The factors that cause conflict
- Difference in views arising from background beliefs, social and political standing and values.
- Economic differences. E.g. when consumers feel exploited by businessmen, when employees feel exploited by employers. Etc.
- Political differences based on ideological orientation i.e. capitalism versus socialism.
- Social differences, for example tribal clashes, religious conflicts, racial discrimination, age/sex differences.
- Limited land/economic resources-unfair distribution of land, mineral resources, water resources, etc.
Peaceful methods of conflict resolution
- Diplomacy/negotiation. This is a dialogue between two warring parties in order to reach an agreement over a dispute. The following steps are followed in negotiation;
- Fact finding- negotiation starts with finding out all the facts about the conflict that is to be solved. At this stage, the laws or guidelines to be followed are also looked at.
- Discussion. During this stage, a friendly environment is cultivated to enable discussion of workable solutions. This is usually a give and take situation.
- Reaching an agreement. The points of agreement reached should be fair to both parties with both feeling they have benefited. Each party should be willing to compromise for negotiation to succeed.
- Arbitration –this is like an informal court where a neutral person (arbitrator) is chosen to resolve the dispute by listening to both sides and help them reach an acceptable decision.
- Both sides involved in conflict presents their case as they know it to the arbitrator.
- After listening to the complainant’s story, the arbitrator makes questions to clarify some aspects of the story. The other group may also seek clarification.
- The second group then responds to the story by the first group by a representative. The arbitrator again asks questions for clarification.
- On grounds of applicable rules, the arbitrator should consider the facts and then make a decision.
- Mediation – a person who is not involved in the conflict tries to help the warring parties reach an amicable agreement. The parties involved must be willing to listen and come up with good ideas that can help them solve the disagreement.
Steps followed in mediation
- The mediator explains the rules as a means of helping the two parties reach an agreement and not imposing a decision on them.
- Giving the two parties involved in the conflict chance to explain in their own words what the problem is. The Complainant explains first and then the defendant.
- The mediator, after listening, summarizes the stories from each party and also identifies the facts.
- The Mediator suggests the solutions and invites the two parties to give their opinions of the solutions proposed.
- Depending on the two parties’ reaction, the solution is looked at afresh and then an acceptable solution identified.
- The acceptable agreement reached is then written down and each party has to be committed to it.
- Litigation. This is where one party takes the other to court and the court makes judgments that are bidding on both sides.
- Legislation – where the parliament passes laws to control conflict.
- Workshops – this is where conflicting parties talk in the presence of facilitators and tries to work out a resolution to the problem.
- Arms inspection – the government in order to build confidence and prevent misunderstanding between warring parties carries it out.
Negative methods of conflict resolution
- Subjugation (use of war)
- Avoiding responsibility and refusing to accept defeat
Under what circumstances violent method may be used in resolving conflict ?
- When law and order is broken and the alternative is the use of force
- In case of serious social unrest
- Striking students or workers, street mobs and bandits