Power clique has badly messed up the country
Published on January 18, 2008, 12:00 am
By Nancy Mburu
A colleague had a chilling experience. A boy, 14, who is her neighbour, stabbed her daughter, 11.
The woman, too, shocked confronted the boy’s parents, who were perplexed by their son’s behaviour.
The children are from two communities that have been engaged in violent clashes following discredited presidential election results.
This is how far we have taken this thing. Politics is a poisoned chalice. The hate propaganda we sowed prior to the General Election has yielded fruits.
Instead of watching the grandstanding and tribal chauvinism with wry amusement, we have become active participants.
The Church, civil society, scholars and the legal fraternity are split by ethnic-inspired politics. We have become suspicious of each other. All we care about is tribe and political party.
I hate to imagine that I might lose friends simply because they are from the ‘enemy’ tribes. I hate to imagine I might start looking at Chirchir, who washes my car differently. Yet I trust Chirchir, who is polite to a fault, with money more than my Kikuyu brothers. I hate to imagine that I will no longer revel in those theme nights with friends simply because they are from other communities.
We were duped. Politicians exploited tribal biases, working them to a feverish pitch, resulting in mayhem.
That is why we need mass action of olive branches, lest we slip into the doldrums of a failed State.
But then there is a cry for justice and truth. And what is that truth and justice? It is said violence would still have erupted even if another leader had been declared winner.
There has to be a deeper reason some communities feel disenchanted to gang against another.
It all points to the much-touted historical injustices. For instance, why do other communities feel the Kikuyu dominate the economy? Is it because the community members are aggressive in business and owning property in any part of the country? And is it because the Kikuyu are accused of not being accommodating?
I am yet to see a Luo or a Kalenjin who owns property or a successful business in Kiambu, Murang’a or Nyeri.
I also get dismayed when I hear Kikuyus make derogatory remarks about other communities, and insinuate that their language and way of life are superior. Yet I learnt in linguistics class that no language is inferior. If its speakers can express themselves and communicate effectively, then the language is complete, no matter how ‘unpleasant’ it sounds.
Governments have perfected the art of nepotism. When Kenyans voted for Kibaki in 2002, they expected radical change. But disillusionment soon set in. We began hearing reports that some regions received more resources than others, and that the President and cronies had rewarded their kin and relatives with plum Government and parastatal jobs.
The Government has failed us miserably, by creating the impression that a community has to have its own in the presidency so they can get a share of the national cake. Given that we are 42 tribes and the Kikuyu and Kalenjin have served their tenures, we have 40 tribes to go.
If each tribe served a term, it would take 400 years for the presidency to go round. Is this how long it will take us to realise the democracy of tribal equality?
We have to come up with a less myopic solution. We need radical change, to ensure there is equality and justice, such that never again, would a community be punished for the sins of a power elite clique.
We need laws that fuse merit, tribal balance and affirmative action, so that nobody, in any corner of the country, will ever feel left out again.
We need laws that ensure anybody can live and own property anywhere without intimidation. We need laws that fuse capitalism and communism, to address the glaring gap between the rich and the poor.
The writer is the Chief Sub Editor of the Standard, Weekend Editions.