NAROK BBI FORUM

Tribal bigotry unwelcome in BBI

What many forget that there are no outsiders in Kenya.

In Summary

• Last week, I cringed as I watched the Jeff Koinange interview with senators Ledama OleKina  (Narok) and Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho).

• I cringed because I was shocked that in this day and age, OleKina, an elected senator, would have a tribal and myopic mind as he does.

Once upon a time, a Man came into a forest with an axe in his hand and begged all the Trees to give him a small branch.

The Trees were good-natured and gave him one of their branches.

What did the Man do but fix it into the axe head and set to work cutting down tree after tree. Despite the fact that the forest was shrinking, the trees kept giving branches for the axe as its handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them.

Last week, I cringed as I watched the Jeff Koinange interview with senators Ledama OleKina  (Narok) and Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho). I cringed because I was shocked that in this day and age, OleKina, an elected senator, would have a tribal and myopic mind as he does.

He stated that inasmuch as he represents the entire county, his main interest is the protection of the Maa, and not the other tribes. It was sad that this was coming from a senator representing a county that has attracted many other tribes as investors.

Narok as well as other Maa counties such as Kajiado are very cosmopolitan and anyone who thinks that the interests of all are not to be protected should not be in any leadership position.

Granted, the Maa need representation and it is within OleKina’s right to speak extensively about their interests since they are the majority voters in Narok and they put him in office.

BBI is focused on uniting Kenyans and transforming the nation to secure its future for economic development. Tribal bigotry does not belong in this country, let alone the BBI process.

Kenya has been plagued by tribal clashes. We saw them in the 1990s in the Rift Valley with people losing lives and their property. We have seen such clashes in other parts of the country with some saying they are driving out outsiders.

What many forget that there are no outsiders in Kenya. All Kenyans belong to this country and the so-called outsiders are likely to be the ones to come to your aid immediately as your neighbours in case of anything.

After the 2007 elections, as a result of incitement from leaders, 1,500 Kenyans lost their lives and over 600,000 were displaced from their homes. Is this the kind of country that OleKina envisages in his mind?

It only takes a spark for us to revert to the tribal clashes we have experienced as a country. It takes comments like those made by the senator for Kenyans to go back to fighting each other.

We can even assume that the disagreements witnessed in Narok on Friday during the BBI forum were a result of such divisive comments. BBI seeks to ensure everyone is heard and it was wrong that some leaders had to walk out due to the things that happened there.

We have seen other regions conduct their forums and rallies peacefully. It is thus wrong for leaders to exercise such levels of dishonesty and driving divisions. Leaders who are making demands before even these forums are held should be ashamed of themselves.

We have seen the same comments coming from some leaders in Garissa as well as Embu, even before the dates were set. In Kitui, we saw some commotions because some leaders were making comments that do not bring about unity.

Previously, we have seen people being attacked because leaders in those areas had made comments aimed at insinuating that they do not belong there.

Leaders must always remember that Kenyans are all seeking the same thing — peace and prosperity so that they can advance their lives.

Kenya belongs to every Kenyan, and anyone can live, do business, buy property or raise a family in every corner of the country. Politics of fear-mongering where threats are issued to communities residing as minorities should never be tolerated.

The writer is a political and communications consultant @MachelWaikenda