Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Yesterday, i read a piece in the Standard Newspaper which got me thinking of the extent which ethnicity has become so ingrained in the Kenyan polity and society. The story was about a man from the Central part of Kenya who happens to be a Kikuyu. The man had been brought to court on charges that he had made a tribal slur against a fellow Kenyan whose name happens by fate to start with an "o" hence a Luo. The facts of the case were that the Kikuyu man(whose name I fail to recall) was a neighbour of the complainant in the case. On the material day, the accused had forcefully brought out the complainant to the local market. He had then made some tribal slurs against the complainant to wit that the complainant was uncircumcised hence a "kihi" in Kikuyu.

Seeing as the complainant was not willing to get confrontational, the accused tried to undress the complainant. It is at this time that the complainant got on his heels. Then the accused took some stones and threw at the complainant injuring him. The accused was then arrested and charged with assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

Without going into the legal aspect of the above case, this incident should awaken us to the reality that Kenya is at its worst stage of ethnic polarisation which is almost at a tipping edge. It is really saddening that our discussions on weighty matters of national importance are first and foremost determined by our tribal affiliations. It is such blinding ethnicity that has allowed perennial thieves of our public funds to continue enjoying public office without being asked to account for their ill-earned wealth. when the things get hot for them they run to their communities with their bulging bellies screaming...we are being finished!! Perhaps it is time we asked ourselves whether this tribal groupings do help us or they are just mere vehicles of convenience for the wealthy classes!! Because if the top class were really serious on their tribes, we would hear them raise rubble when the poor are harassed by the establishment. But do we hear this? Not to the best of my knowledge! Hence, we should re-evaluate the ethnic discourse in the country to ensure it is not taken advantage of by some characters for their own selfish ends.

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