Something dangerous, obnoxious and odd’s happening in Kenya. A few people have forgotten Kenya's perilous Post-Election Violence (PEV-2007) that saw many innocent Kenyans slaughtered as a result of tribal animosity between the Kalenjin and Kikuyu among others. Kenyans, especially leaders, need to know more than anybody else. I know. I’m not Kenyan but a neighbour in the south.
After evidencing things go south in our own country in 2001 resulting from political madness, I must admit that I was horrifically chagrined. Those who remember, in 2001, some Tanzanians in Tanzania Island were killed by the police resulting from conflict relating to allegedly election hold-up. Many people from Pemba–––which was ground zero of the carnage–––sought refuge in Shimoni, Mombasa; while others went as far as Somalia. For, the first time, Tanzania produced refugees while, since its independence, used to receive ones from all neighbouring countries.
Fanning the fire of tribalism is nothing but self-destruction for Kenya as a nation and a people. Those who are trying to make Kenya a tribal experiment should know too well; it’s never worked anywhere. Wherever tribalism worked, it surely destroyed those involved. Look, at the CAR, Somalia, former Yugoslavia and among countries ruined by toxic ethnicity.
Looking the manner, the two MPs, Oscar Sudi and Johana Ng’eno ventilated their views guided by anger and vengeance, they’re lucky that the president didn’t equally reciprocate. It seems. Some Kenyans have easily forgotten the perdition they went through; if it isn’t they, their relatives and community did. Those who are beating the drums of war, ala Raila Odinga, should underscore the famous Swahili proverb that war is always blind.
The situation in Kenya is degenerating as far as leadership is concerned. The rift between two presidential aspirants–––come 2022–––Raila, ODM leader who entered a handshake with president Kenyatta in 2018 and VP Ruto who it shook, has paralysed and polarised Kenya.
Kenyans need to revisit’s the current us versus them axis. To draw an example from Tanzania, we don’t have tribal axis of us versus them although recently there had surfaced political tribalism Tanzanians are now fighting vehemently. In Tanzania, it’s us versus they who want to divide us as a nation but not as a tribe. Using tribalism to maintain power is worse than even colonialism. For, the colonisers were not our relatives.
Kenyans are viewed as the most educated people in EAC. Ironically, if you consider how they’ve been ruled since independence, you just wonder. The same applies to Ugandans. At certain times, they’re more educated than Kenyans. But when you visit the history of their independence, you wonder how they ended up being robbed and tortured by boobs, hoods and goons. It is because tribalism made them blind so as not see the reality.
Trading abuses and insults testify to lack of competency and probity for those involved. Kenyans should harshly and quickly reprimand and shirk tribal lords who want to lord it over them pretending to fight for their rights under tribal cocoons. No realistic person can destroy the nation to promote the tribe and be safe. Apart from Kenya’s choppy past, examples from neighbouring Somalia, South Sudan even Rwanda speak volumes.
Kenyans must not easily forget the dangers they’re courting and entertaining by banking on tribal security that’s naturally elusive and illusive. Mjenga na mbomoa nchi ni mwananchi, namely the country’s either built or destroyed by its citizens. Those that want to destroy and deface Kenya think they’re vulnerable under their nation but comfortable and safe under their tribe. What a lie and a suttee! I strongly urge Kenyans to learn from their turbulent past to avoid repeating the mistakes that’ll cost them dearly. The presidency of our tribal lords won't add any food on our tables except to theirs.
By Nkwazi Mhango
The author is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.