Ending divisive tribal politics starts with individuals

Leaders come from society and citizens give them an opportunity for abuse

In Summary

• Society needs constant re-engineering which may come through legal processes–constitutional amendment. 

• We can end divisive tribal politics by treating each other as humans regardless of tribal affiliation. 

Some displaced families camp at Musegekwa Primary School
DIVISIVE POLITICS: Some displaced families camp at Musegekwa Primary School
Image: FILE

Tribal politics have been a lucrative business for a significant number of politicians in Kenya. Those who have pursued idealism against it over time have, unfortunately, been unable to succeed in the ever murky business.

Part of the retardation of politics can be attributed to this and corruption which are a poisonous concoction that has caused a lot of misery in the country including endemic poverty and unemployment.

Some believe we can address some of these challenges by making changes to the Constitution. Both the Building Bridges and the Punguza Mizigo initiatives aim at making the country politically and economically better.


To address recurrent chaos after polls, let us narrow down to an individual perspective. Ordinary citizens judge others based on their tribe, without giving them a chance to prove their worth. Second, when a politician presents their agenda, do we choose to listen regardless of the tribe or are we prejudiced prior to the presentation?

Third, when citizens struggle with challenges do they do so as a tribe or individual human beings? Certainly as individuals. So why is tribalism so juicy when it comes to politics? This is just an illustration that what happens to a country when its own citizens create opportunities for abuse by their leaders.

Leaders do not fall from the sky, they grow from society. Leaders incite their own communities because they know they will get a good hearing and society has embraced this as a norm. Politicians, being what they are and good marketers of their craft, take advantage of this.

Societies need constant social engineering and re-engineering to improve. For future stability of the country, fundamental changes need to be made to society.