Tuesday, February 28, 2006

We are going a long way

I try to avoid politics when I can. But when we talk about national development (a topic I am most passionate about) somehow politics has to sneak its way. And if we talk about politics, then tribalism walks in slowly, rears its ugly head and divides the debaters.

The Kikuyu in me has become idiosyncratic I fear. I tend to defend any ills committed by a Kikuyu. In fact I could give you a million excuses of why that Kikuyu had to do what it had to do. When we were presented with a half baked constitution, devoid of merit and outrightly substandard I defended it the way a mother whose kid has been accused of stealing the neighbours mangoes would. Not because everybody who voted against it did it because of the reasons listed above.

We coined sayings like The house of Mumbi and proceeded to declare that it was under threat. For some strange reason Kikuyus have a superiority complex. The pride you feel when you read a John Grisham or a Sidney Sheldon and read about the Kikuyus of Kenya. The Kikuyu in me has refused to die. That is the pride called “before a fall”. We also say “Kikuyus have saved this country.

History has favoured my tribesmen/women and so has climate. My father calls everyone a “kabila”, is also Luophobic.

In due course they were handed a humble pie. So we figured a way to eat the pie humbly in the most pompous and callous manner. Sack them! You could almost hear the chorus. And the big man for once gave in the pressure to sack and sack he did.

The country sunk into deeper problems that it was before. In almost 2 weeks prices of commodities had gone up by 30%, there was famine in the country, there was a shortage of registration forms and it has been established one cannot replace an ID for the next 6 months. Someone has declared there is a person in Nairobi who has sinned as the rains keep giving us a wide berth.

We cannot blame a Kikuyu for just like everyone else he thinks as a Kikuyu first then as a person.

It is with this background in tribalism that we must ponder if we are willing to let this country go to the dogs just because we will not sacrifice our own.

Just in the morning, I was listening to a local fm station whereby it is too obvious that our ministers are handing some folks resignations and awarding their tribesmen posts.

Kulundu could be heard defending Lumbaso “she is not my sister…” The fact that she is a Luhya was something Kulundu should have thought about before the appointment. Isn't also sinister that his brother Kulundu Bitonye is the Principal of Kenya School of Law now?

Then there is Kivutha Kibwana a Law Professor and currently the Minister of Environment who has just replaced Professor Michieka with a Dr. Mwinzi his own tribesman.

Henry Obwocha the now acting Minister for Planning has appointed a Kisii (whose name I am unable to write) to the Kenya Ports Authority.

We cannot avoid tribalism, it is what defines a particular people. I am a Kikuyu, I am a Maasai,.that is Kenyan. When tribalism will fly out of the window, individualism will set in or a class social order as it is in the America.

But how do we avoid letting this tribalism sink us into deeper problems than we are already in. Does it count that if all the people I think are qualified are my tribesmen do I out rightly become a tribalist? Americans seem to have allowed a class of persons to rule them as has the Britons. Kenyans cannot allow a small group of people read tribe to rule them!

I have studied in various colleges since I left High School. I have established the proprietors of the certain college. It has always shocked me that the tribe of a proprietor always reflects our lecturers. If the owner is a Kikuyu, about 75% of the lecturers will be Kikuyus and so forth.

So why do Kenyans all over sudden imagine that a person who has been working with his tribesmen all his life will now become too accommodative to other tribes. It is all in the social setting.

A person growing up in Kisumu will probably attend Kisumu Boys and then set out for Maseno University where he will only have associated with his tribesmen throughout the time.

To get rid of tribalism we will have to do more than shout from the rooftops of how our leaders are tribal. The past regime was tribal, this one is tribal and the next one will be.

We will need to get rid of the quota system that resigns provincial schools from admitting persons from outside their province district. About 75% of the schools only admit students joining the school only from their district.

We could also ban mother tongue from being a language of instruction in the village schools.

Granted, majority of Kenyans reside in the rural areas, and from these rural areas do you find our most leaders coming from.

The problem of tribalism is not going to die away soon. We better admit. We have grown up being a certain tribe and just like the mzungu took a long time to admit a person can be black so does tribalism work.

Disclaimer : I am not tribal.I do not condone tribalism.

I have read a very interesting post this morning