We are all (okay, maybe not all but a majority of us) waiting for the elusive presidential debate to hear how the aspirants will articulate their visions and opinions on what they have in store for Kenya in the days to come.
We also know that the general elections will be held on 8th of August this year.
Well, this are general aspects that define the Kenyan political landscape.
While you may want to delve deeper into the murky waters of political parties and candidates of your choice, who will win and loose, why certain regions will vote is a certain way and so on and so forth, just take a break for a second and reason with me especially if you are an employee in an organization that has other employees with different opinions.
Raising your voice and passionately discussing politics at the workplace may not be the wisest thing to do especially in Kenya and this is why:
1. It’s going to make you feel bad.
Political discussions especially those laden with radical opinions (and nearly all Kenyan political discourses are) will always leave you isolated from your colleagues. Talking about politics leave a majority of workers feeling awful.
2. Your may be assumed emotionally immature and ignorant.
This is so especially if you are a young employee. Picking up a political discussion may make your seniors assume you are emotionally immature and ignorant in many fronts. This is because political discussions have a tendency of working on your emotions more than your logic.
If in doubt, just take a look at some of the political comments by your social media friends, do you ever read some of them and just wondered what was he/she thinking when he/she wrote that, ooh my God!!!
Well that is what you co-workers will be thinking about you once you engage the same gear.
3. Your colleagues will avoid you.
One in five workers say they avoid at least one other colleague based on his or her political beliefs.
The Kenyan politics are heavily laden with ethnic views. If you engage in an office discussion along the same lines, some coworkers will just pull-off from your direction to avoid conflict and being the victims of your tirade.
4. Your argument may end up being a serious HR issue.
“The workplace is a diverse environment where every single staff must be respected regardless of their beliefs and values. When you add politics to the workplace mix – a deeply personal and emotive topic for many – there is potential for tension, conflict and problems for both employees and the organisation.
If you are the cause of the tension certainly HR will want to talk to you with a view of restoring an environment that is inclusive.
Well, unless if you love HR that much, you may want to keep off that route and keep delivering well on your role.
5. You will never change anyone’s mind
An interesting thing about Kenyan politics is that everyone seem decided on which side to support with or without valid reasons.
No matter how much inside information you think you have, talking politics at the workplace will never win you or your party of choice any new supporters.
While initially I would advocate for a respectful political discourse at the workplace, the truth is that the Kenyan scenario is quite unique and the level of rational and mature engagement quite limited.
No matter how well intentioned any discussion may be, it will always end up generating more negative energy which is the last thing you want in your work environment.