Fahari wawili wakipigana, nyasi huumia. This Swahili proverb teaches us that when two forces are fighting, there is an innocent party receiving on the receiving end. The victim holds nothing against any of the fighting forces yet the one who come out with more stitches. Collateral damage. The victim is the suffering spectator. This is the common whenever there is conflicts. The one with no direct say in the given conflict,is the one who is hurt the most. They are the one who are affected most when non diplomatic methods of conflict resolution become the only option. Take the case of workers strikes, it is not the workers or their employers who suffers the most. Instead it is the people who are expecting services from the striking workers. For the doctors and lecturers strikes it is the innocent patients and students who are on the receiving end respectively. The plight of these victims usually falls into deaf ears. They are collateral damage. A battle ground for the fighting parties. They are not just spectators but the actual victims.

Strikes are becoming increasing too common. It seem to be like the first choice of conflict resolution. The choice of going on a strike is usually justified by claims of stubborn employer, who fails to bend to the demands of the employees. The ability to lead a strike is usually among the first to be considered during elections of workers unions officials. This trend is locking out potential good leaders who could come up with alternatives methods of conflicts resolution. The problems with these strikes is that there is always an innocent victim. And to add salt to the injury, workers strikes are recurring quite often with the same old unsolved grievances. Strikes can be seen as a game of pride. Everyone wants to win. The opposing parties are fighting and not negotiating. It is total chaos.

This calls for alternatives methods of conflict resolutions. These methods should cushion or even alleviate the suffering of Kenyans- no disruption of services. A mediator led method would be highly recommended. This system has to be well structured to avoid bias and kill off any form of mischief. The mediator has to be powerful enough to be respected by both parties. The role of a mediator would be to ensure that no one step on each other toes. The mediator would have the role of oversight, do the follow up on what was agreed. The current system (strikes) leaves the burden of implementation of the agreement entirely on one party (the government). If that party (government) was under pressure during the negotiations, implementation becomes optional.

Growth comes from learning. If we learn from our past we can grow and become better. We need better methods of conflicts resolutions.

photo credit: Chris Parker2012 Head to head, Tarangire, Tanzania via photopin (license)

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