The Role of Asian Community in Kenyan Politics
Although Asians are the minority community in Kenya, hardly to any percentage compared with the total population of Kenya, their presence and contribution to the country is at large which draws the world’s attention.
The Asian stay in Kenya has undoubtedly promoted all sectors of Kenyan life including politics. The stability of the economy in the country is entirely due to the goodwill mission of the Asians in general.
Asians played a substantial part in the freedom struggle of the nation. They endeavoured to establish a workable business sector in Kenya. They had a considerable influence on the formation of public policy by virtue of their experience and advanced social culture. As they became strong financially, Asians invested and contributed significantly to the development of the nation. They contributed in hospitals, schools and other public services.
Up to the introduction of the multi-party system, Asians had a respectable image in Kenya. There are some Kenyans who believe that Asians are simply mercenary. As their interests are primarily economic, they are thought to have refrained from any open participation in present multi-party politics. To some they are known as ‘silent observers’. To others, they are ‘fence sitters. To the recently formed terrorist group they are scape-goats to harass them as and where required.
. It is nothing but the grudge against the community which has always backed the government in power for the sake of peace and stability of the nation.
The recent looting and destroying the properties of the Indians is a great set back for the entire nation. Indians are there to build and develop the nation mostly at all sectors. They are supposed to be respected and protected at all events. They are the true friends and the true well wishers of the country and never harmful in any sector.
Any grudge shown towards them in such an uncivilized manner is nothing but the bad show of the opposition party which intends to fetch power by violence.
Equally, there are some Asians who are willing to participate whole-heartedly in the present multi-party system, but they are reluctant because of the cheap statements and threats from some of the less serious leaders who rely on populist politics.
Most aged Asians believe that they played an important role in anti-colonial politics and yet this has never been sufficiently recognized.
No Asian talents are encouraged to promote fair politics. No bonafide Asians are sought to be on the advisory committee of the economical sector.
The man in the street, who sees an Asian as an unwanted person in Kenya, has no means of getting true information about the importance of Asians in this country. He has no idea of the huge contribution of the Asian community for the development of the nation before and after the Independence. The sudden growth of the Kenyan economy after independence is entirely due to the right efforts of Asians.
The common man’s image of an Asian is nothing but a grudge grown in his mind by his area councilor, area M.P. other leader who thinks he is doing a work of national importance by criticizing, and abusing the Asian movement in the Country. He tries to become popular or get extra votes by cheap politics. At most events, the target is aimed at the Asians or the opposition group.
He does not realize that by doing so, he is really undermining the economical and business sectors of the country… For years Asians in Kenya have been the true back-bone of trade in Kenya. No Country can survive peacefully for long without strongly based trade and business structures. Asians have very ably and carefully maintained the strong business sector of the Nation that has largely helped the mass development of the Nation as a whole.
Asians can make good politicians if only they are not accused and abused. If we go back to the history of the freedom struggle, although Asians entered Kenya as a predominantly merchant class, they were still able to offer a serious opposition to the colonial regime through strong political associations, trade unions and an outspoken press.
In their freedom struggle against the colonial era, Asians were very willing to cross racial barriers and align themselves with the early Kenyan freedom fighters. The better educated politically conscious Asians in Kenya sought Africans as friends and political allies in the anti-colonial struggle. In addition to the Asian journalists, politicians and sympathizers, ethnic loyalties were replaced by class interests in the formation of a joint Asian African trade union movement.
Who can forget the struggle of Mr. Makhan Singh, S.G. Amin, Apa Pant, K.P. Shah, A.B. Patel, Biant Singh, Shanti Pandit, Mr.Nazeth, Charan Singh, Eboo Pirbhai, Arvind Zamindar, De Souza, Haron Ahmed and many others? Many of them were detained with African freedom fighters including the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. What was their interest in suffering in the torture-cells of the white rulers? What benefit was this to them?
Jomo Kenyatta had mass support from various organizations in his Uhuru struggle and most of the newspapers which were protesting the colonial tyranny were Asian dominated. Asian journalists played a vital role in exposing the British tyranny to the third world which worked as a catalyst to the then Labour party in the British Parliament. The mighty pen of Asian journalists created awareness of the Uhuru Struggle in Kenya. They were successfully able to attract considerable sympathy for Kenyans from overseas.
Let Kenyans not underestimate the political strength of Asians and let them not point an accusing finger at them because of the misdeeds of a few Asians.
The bonafide Kenyan should never overlook or ignore the Asian contribution in the development of this country after Independence. Asians have played a major role and sacrificed a lot to free Kenya from the bail of the Britishers. Asian-stay in Kenya is the true sign of development and stability of the Nation mostly at all sectors.