Liberalism, as proposed by Immanuel Kant, is a theory that holds that there are more peaceful ways and means to get the masses to cooperate with the state. Liberal politics is therefore divided into four categories; informational politics, symbolic politics, Leverage politics and accountability politics. Focusing on the first two categories, informational and symbolic, this paper looks into the relevance of and specific cases putting these into perspective. Informational and Symbolic Politics
Information politics, the ability to generate politically usable information, is often used in situations where opponents are trying to prove the right and wrong in the dynamics of certain phenomena. Getting on the good side, so to speak, of the masses is the primary priority of any political elite in any society. In Africa, and more specifically in the Republic of Kenya (herein referred to as Kenya), where the political atmosphere depends on the party with the upper hand, informational politics is used to sway the political decisions far more than any other form of liberal politics.
The proponents hold that the current constitution will bring much needed change; there will be 47 seats set aside for women in the parliament, there will be decentralized power in the Kenyan government and on the representation of the less fortunate members of the society there will be increased representation of the marginalized groups. The opponents on the other hand have picked on one section of the document and hold that Section 26 of the Proposed Constitution of Kenya will encourage women and girls to procure unjustifiable abortion .
Though this claim is not grounded on facts but on assumptions, the majority of the uninformed and relatively ignorant populace is buying into this claim and therefore taking the opposing side. The use of symbolic information in the video ‘Invisible Children’ is a powerful tool to appeal to the human nature of those watching it. The situation of the child soldiers all over the world, specifically those in Uganda, is deplorable and capable of swaying the toughest crowd of decision and policy makers.
The political use of symbols to campaign and consequently to govern a people works to sway especially those who like to hold onto tradition and their known way of life. Again taking the scenario in Kenya, there has been campaign against the harmful cultural practices such as early and forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. Now, the political side of this has been that various leaders have chosen to use their cultural influence on the masses to influence how it is that they respond to decisions.
Informational and symbolic politics have not really been productive in the effort to sway the decision and views of the masses in the topic of the day. The main reason is that the issues discussed are on the general platform as opposed to dealing with the causes for instance of the problems. The solutions, therefore, are not sustainable at all and can therefore not easily be duplicated. For instance, the debate on the proposed constitution of Kenya will affect the outcome of the coming referendum, due on the 4th August 2010.
The leaders tapping into the people’s cultural beliefs are also missing the point when discussing harmful practices such as the Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and early and forced marriages. The approaches are only temporary hence the people are not convinced that they will be represented for the entire future. Conclusion Liberalism is a theoretical framework that seeks to find solutions and alternatives to war and chaos .
This theory draws on the good will of the elite as well as the masses and holds the assumption that there are other means to combat the human nature. Informational and symbolic politics serve a purpose to help along its cause and so prove that all the treaties and conventions entered into by these very states and non-state actors. Bibliography 1 Draft Proposed constitution of Kenya 2010 2 http://video. google. com/videoplay? docid=3166797753930210643&ei=YKwiTIHhLuPrlQf9kYD8Cg&q=invisible+children# 3 http://www. mtholyoke. edu/acad/intrel/kant/kant1. htm