The following piece is by a young guy called Sam. He’s a Form 3 student at Nyang’ori High.
He’s really good, as you’re about to see, and he’s looking for opportunities to hone his craft. His email is Werambosam2000@gmail.com. Mail him if you can. Let’s encourage those who are coming after us 😊
Where were you in 2007/2008 when we were up in arms against each other? What do you think about the tribalism curse in this our Kenya?
I was five years when my mother and I joined my father in Eldoret, where he had been transferred from Nairobi the year before. I was born in Nairobi but I would spend the rest of my childhood and part of my young adulthood in Eldoret.
My first best friend was Jackson Kipchumba. Jackson and I attended the same nursery school and we were classmates throughout primary school. I fondly recall Tuesday evenings in the year 2005, we would hang out at his house watching WWE Wrestling on his family’s 14-inch black and white television set.
We were too young to realize that we belonged to the two supposedly avowed political enemies the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin. All I knew at that time was that my uncle Mugo’s family had been victims of “clashes” in Molo in 1992 and 1997. We were also vaguely aware of a nearby small town peculiarly named Burnt Forest that was a hot spot for these mysterious clashes.
My other childhood friends included Otis (a Luo), Fred Masaba (a Ugandan), Wambua (Kamba) and Evans Ontori (a Kisii). But we never identified or described ourselves by the prevailing tribal stereotypes. All that stood about Otis was that his father was seldom around, Fred’s family always had cassava at their house, Ontori and Wambua were very light skinned. Tribe never factored in our distinctions.
As I grew up and became more critically aware of my wider surroundings, I realized that the relationships between us children were a far cry from those of our respective parents.
The tribal tensions between some of our parents were palpable, to the extent that some of us would be banned from visiting our friends’ houses. The reasons were not very clear to us children, our parents knew better, we assumed and obeyed without giving it much thought.
Then hell broke loose in 2007. I was in school at Kisii and I had gone home for Christmas holidays which coincided with that year General Elections. The long and short of it is that I no longer call Eldoret my home; my family had to flee when the violence broke out following the contentious re-election of Mwai Kibaki. Our home was looted and decades old trust among neighbors broken.
My mother, a widow at the time, had to hop around several towns before finally settling in Nairobi. The tribal post-election violence of 2007/2008 had made me an IDP and forever changed my life.
That is why I watched Cotu Secretary- General Francis Atwoli address a great gathering of Luhya community members with great apprehension. I was greatly distressed at what was happening and frustrated that no one seemed to be bothered by it.
In the TV news that evening and newspapers stories the following day, all and sundry seemed concerned about was whether Musalia Mudavadi would be accepted as the true spokesman of the “mulembe” nation.
Across the great political valley, Jubilee politicians from the Luhya community distanced themselves from the gathering. But I could not applaud their action, not for the reason they gave because they supported President Kibaki, and not because they opposed tribalism.
Mr. Atwoli tried to justify the choice of Mr. Mudavadi by show casing the “scientific” nature of the process of choosing the spokesman. The best some critics would do was say that the days of tribal chiefs were long gone. However, I am more concerned about the fact that the idea of a tribal chief today, especially when that chief is also an apparently democratically and constitutionally elected leader, is a dangerous one.
I cannot possibly be the only one seeing this dangerous potential. Perhaps I am just naïve and trying to fight a losing battle. What is the role of the media in this? Where is the voice of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission? Or do we wait until people start fighting or realize that something is wrong? Isn’t prevention better than cure?
I believe such gatherings as the one we witnessed on the last day of 2016 should be illegal, especially when the people championing them are heading national institutions and supposedly promoting national values. Leaders should speak against any such accolades given to them by their tribes-men (Who may not know any better)
Within tribalism, there are many groups which represent the positive and negative aspects that exist in all cultures, places and groups which define the unifying and the distractive force which has been illustrated in many movies like Romeo and Julliet which perfectly introduces the distractive force of tribalism.
I really don’t like dragging Kenyans to topics that fundamentally weaken our society but I have to say the truth in order to help mother Kenya. What is the truth about the destructive impact of tribalism in the society? In the light of the current truth and facts, tribalism is ugly, evil, archaic and awful even in older days.
The failure to recognize and confront the adverse consequences of tribalism in Kenya, especially on social and economic development is hindered by political opportunists – in their push for political spoils. As a matter of fact, more than 75% of Kenya’s population are apostles to tribalism, but when we come together, we will root out the devil of tribalism.
We now have a government of educated and vibrant Kenyans who know what tribalism is and what ways they can use to eliminated it.
It is true that Kenya’s political-elites promote tribalism in a hundred and one ways but people can change. Tribalism in Kenya arises when one ethnic group exalts itself higher than the other which as per now can be a problem likely to be solved. The British and other colonialists used tribalism in Kenya to divide and rule local communities which suppresses our unity.
We must come together and pull our resources together to attain one common goal – UNITY and we can. All in all, PEACE, LOVE AND UNITY.
#Outdo tribalism in Kenya.
Peace, Love and Guidance y’all.