Sugar wars not adding any value to democracy (Daily Nation (Kenya))

Democracy is all about competition for power and the offering of alternative ideologies, policy prescriptions and development plans.

That will always make for a fair amount of arguments and debate. It can often get messy and noisy, but there is no better form of governance.

Above the din, however, there must emerge something solid and identifiable that the people can understand and use to make their own judgement on the competing visions. That is what is sorely lacking on the current ‘Sugar Wars’.

The exchanges between the government and the Opposition over plans to import sugar from Uganda are dominated by insults, accusations and counter-accusations that do no credit to democracy.

The puerile exchanges we are witnessing from the public platform serve as stark indicators of an immature democratic system where tantrums and violent demagoguery take precedence over civility.

The name-calling also exposes leaders who are unable to articulate their vision and ideas in a reasoned, sober and logical fashion, and thus resort to the primal instinct.

Kenyans are witnessing first-hand a deficiency of democracy and a deficiency of leadership. This is why we urge all those involved to step back a little and ponder what it is exactly they are putting on display.

A ceasefire would provide time for some introspection that hopefully will help guide the debate away from the bare-knuckle political duel and back onto the path of the real issues.

We need to move away from the politics and focus on the welfare and interests of the long-suffering sugarcane farmer.

We need to look for ways of making sugar farming profitable and sustainable, and the sugar factories efficient and competitive.