COUNTRY FULL OF HATE

Declare tribalism a national disaster

In Summary
  • Tribalism is a time bomb waiting to explode
  • Careless and inflammatory political statements are frequently made in public meetings and no action is taken against the hatemongers

No lesser persons than dons and political leaders have been captured on television cameras participating in demonstrations to lock out non-locals from taking up appointments in public offices and universities outside their ancestral homes.  

Gone are the days when public appointments were made on merit and voters elected candidates across the political divide without due regard to the aspirants’ tribe, race or religion. Post-Independence years saw Kenya plunge into irreparable tribal division under the nation’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta and his successors.

Peaceful co-existence and unity in diversity in a newly independent nation were extinguished as soon as the nationalists got into power succeeding the British colonialists.

Geo-ethnic considerations, political feuds and race for wealth have overshadowed merit and choice for quality leadership in the former British colony. Leaders across the divide acknowledge the existence and depth of ethnicity scourge that has been accepted as a way of life.

Negative as it is, ethnicity is knee-deep, irreversible, and has shredded the national and social fabric. Some of the casualties of the vice are public servants without geo-ethnic qualifications. Consequently, careers have been ruined and promotions denied.

No lesser persons than dons and political leaders have been captured on television cameras participating in demonstrations to lock out non-locals from taking up appointments in public offices and universities outside their ancestral homes.  

In the circumstances, merit does not matter; dialect seems to be our shield and defender in a country that boasts fragile cohesion despite having an office mandated to oversee unity in diversity and fairness in appointments to public positions.

Careless and inflammatory political statements are frequently made in public meetings and no action is taken against the hatemongers.

a governor in Central expressed shock that a non-Kikuyu was elected as a member of county assembly in a Kikuyu-dominated locality and asked voters to initiate his removal. The MCA has since died but the governor escaped a reprimand for hate speech

The National Cohesion and Integrity Commission has done little to tame the tribal cancer that has shredded the national fabric, bred hatred, suspicion and, worst of all, xenophobic semblance.

For instance, a governor in Central expressed shock that a non-Kikuyu was elected as a member of county assembly in a Kikuyu-dominated locality and asked voters to initiate his removal. The MCA has since died but the governor escaped a reprimand for hate speech

Election to choose President Uhuru Kenyatta’s successor is 16 months away but ethnicity promises to mar the campaigns in which familiar political faces will feature as candidates for the top seat. Chaos is inevitable in the forthcoming polls. Already, dress rehearsals for violence are in top gear. Violence riddled by-elections pitting followers of Deputy President William Ruto and rival aspirants are clear warnings shots.

It is a do or die for Ruto, a leader determined to make history at whatever cost as the first deputy to succeed a living boss in a country where his predecessors failed or were manipulated out of succession.

Ruto has already  pre-empted a nomination lockout by Jubilee Party stalwarts and is warming up to a new outfit, UDA, whose flag he is likely to fly during the succession campaign. Let’s not pretend; the country is fragmented more into tribal outfits known as political parties. Like other parties in the race, UDA is another tribal entity.

Former President Moi predicted deeper tribal divisions with the restoration of competitive politics in 1992 after 26 years of one-party rule. During his 24-year rule, ethnicity thrived and mutated because Moi undertook to follow without question in the footsteps of his predecessor, Jomo Kenyatta. Whatever he did in the line of duty was presumed to be in tandem with the policies of the fallen predecessor.  

Tribalism is a time bomb waiting to explode. At some point in history, Moi loudly claimed that 'Siasa mbaya, maisha mbaya (bad politics, bad life)', a phrase often repeated to remind Kenyans of the dire consequences of tribal divisions under the watch of compromised leaders.  

Given the fact that tribalism has acquired cancerous proportions, the honourable thing the NCIC could do ahead of next year’s polls, is to ask the leadership to declare ethnicity a national disaster.