2007-08: Butchered, burnt alive, stoned to death, shot dead, 1,133 murdered. Thousands of women and girls were sexually violated; individual and gang rape. Gruesome sexual violence, including female genital mutilation among women and forced circumcision among men and boys. In some instances families, including children, were forced to watch their parents, brothers and sisters being sexually violated. Over 500,000 Kenyans became refugees in their own country.
Not a single politician or their immediate family suffered this kind of violence. 10 years later we, Kenyans, have forgotten the damaging effects of tribal politics.
To my generation, we have a problem – our friends, colleagues and families are fighting over Uhuru and Raila. Some of us are saying inflammatory things and sharing negative posts. The seeds of hate being sown by politicians and their ignorant supporters will cost Kenya dearly. We are poisoning our country with our written and spoken words. As we defend the politicians, we should not be destroying whatever small unity we have in Kenya.
We need each other every day of our lives (all the different tribes), to make this beautiful mosaic of a country that we call Kenya work. While our parents may have had bigoted views on other tribes, it is utter foolishness for us to follow down that destructive path.
There are no tribal banks where your tribe will automatically get free cash. Your life is not your tribe. You cannot use tribe as a currency to pay school fees, rent, bus fare or even hospital bills. No politician loots and brings the spoils to their tribe. They steal for their own family. The title deeds, bank accounts and companies they own belong to them, not the tribe. Defending someone because of their tribe and not the values they represent is utter stupidity. Remember, if violence erupts in Kenya, the politicians will not fight or bleed. It’s the poor who fight and die like fools for the politicians while the middle class go to war online. The true tragedy of tribalism is that it blinds us from fighting real national issues; corruption, poverty, unemployment, high cost of living and insecurity.
When we get sick and go to the hospital we don’t ask what tribe the doctor is or the tribe of your blood donor when we have a transfusion. Our children’s teachers’ tribe doesn’t matter as long as our children study. The religious leaders have aligned tribally. We, the people, have a choice not to do that. To those celebrating hate speech, be very afraid. Our young children will pay dearly if we don’t fight tribalism. The immediate struggle of our generation must be to fight tribalism. If Kenyans unite and deal with tribalism, it will be easier to elect national leaders, not based on their tribal formations, but for their manifesto and vision for Kenya.
70% of the 48 million Kenyans are under 35 years old. We shall outlive Uhuru and Raila. So let’s secure our future by taking a stand against tribal politics today.
After this election is over we need to have an honest national dialogue on tribalism. It is the monster in the room. We must deal with it.