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It is election period. We all have our favourite candidates in mind that we intend to put in power through voting. We therefore trust that the system will be fair enough to make the most favoured candidates win the elections. However, a lot of hate speech and conflict have become part of our lives and if we are not careful, it might cause unrest. Lest we forget, it has happened before back in 2007- Post Election Violence.

Here is how to promote peace for a better country and a peace of mind this time around:

1. Make a personal commitment to nonviolence. Social media has become a sting tool for promoting violence. Do not forward messages that promote violence and hate speech and incitement.

2. When you see someone in trouble, whether he or she is lost, confused, upset, or has fallen, don’t act like you don’t see the person – provide some help.

3. Show your friends how to achieve calmness through deep breathing. Regard people who hurt your feelings as your personal teachers of how to maintain a peaceful nature.

4. Avoid conversations that might lead to a heated argument. Especially those that involve tribal indifferences.

5. Take a side but do not take it personally. Speak out against prejudice and discrimination when you see it.

6. Piga kura, usipige watu.

7. Show the people around you how to be kind to vulnerable people – the homeless, those with physical or cognitive disabilities, older people, and anyone else that appears in need of help despite their tribe or race.

8. When you feel angry, count to ten before saying anything. Then, ask yourself what response will be best for the greater good.

9. When you feel slighted, ask yourself if what happened was really about you or if it was about the other person.

10. When you realize that it was about the other person, find in your heart some compassion for that person, realizing that he or she is most surely struggling.

With those simple steps, it will be easier for you to avoid all manner of situations that might lead to conflict.  As we vote tomorrow, let us keep in mind that Kenya is bigger than all of us.

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