As we have sped past 52 years since our beloved country became independent, those who have been alive at least that long recall being taught in school how the colonists came with a Bible on one hand and a gun on the other.
They then went on to colonize us and the rest of Africa, utilizing the strategy of divide and rule.
For those who don’t know, divide and rule strategy is accomplished by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy in order to gain and maintain power and control over the subjects. As stated in the Journal of Socialist Theory the primary objective in this strategy is to prevent smaller power groups from linking up, causing rivalries and fomenting discord among the people.
Among the elements that comprise this strategy include, “creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects to prevent alliances that could challenge the sovereign, aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign and fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers.”
If the white man succeeded in implementing this strategy throughout their rule in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa, the Africans who succeeded them in post-colonial times took the concept even further and made it a mainstay of our post-Independence politics.
So much so such that today, when we talk of democracy in Kenya—or Africa for that matter we’re not talking of democracy as understood in Western parlance but a system of rule solely predicated on this divide and rule concept better known and understood as tribal and ethnic based politics.
All of this is perfectly understandable; what is incomprehensible is, why would a generation of people born post-independence not only fail to see and reject this antiquated notion of manipulation and control but, worse, why on earth would they embrace it as they do much to the detriment of not only their own interests but to the detriment of our beloved country’s interests.
This is not a rhetorical question but one every Kenyan of voting age should and must ask and answer as we head to another general election come 2017.
It is extremely depressing, saddening and at times simply annoying to see young and older people in social media and elsewhere so entrenched in their tribal cocoons and many to a man and woman shamelessly defending the ineptness, incompetence and corruption of the Jubilee government which all of us as Kenyans must admit, if we are to be honest, that they have failed not only to perform as promised, but they have also failed worse than any government before them.
Those who follow American politics know the country is undergoing a political season unlike anything they have seen in their life time and unlike anything that has happened in the country’s 200+ year history.
A demagogue by the name Donald J Trump has tapped into nascent racism and bigotry that has been percolating undetected in the country with a promise to “make America great again,” which is code for returning America to its racist past.
This is nothing but application of divide and rule that has been successful everywhere it has been applied but as we shall find out a week from today, this time the strategy will fail and the demagogue will surely be sent packing to wherever he came from.
The strategy will fail because a majority of those going to the polls would make the case enough of the nonsense, one cannot possibly ride on racism and bigotry to power and there are more of those who believe this than the racists and other cult-like followers of the demagogue.
It’s precisely what’s needed in our own beloved Kenya, namely, a majority of voters going to the polls come 2017 and saying, enough of the tribal and ethnic based politics, enough of being ruled by inept and incompetent governments and leaders who promise the moon when vying for office only to deliver nothing but more misery, hopelessness and poverty for everyone except themselves and their cronies.
This is the only way we can save our beloved country.