Kenyans must make a stand to cure tribal illness
Last updated on 16 Sep 2012 00:00
By Anthony Muheria
The bloody scenes in Tana River where Kenyans raised swords against each are disheartening. While the Church has been fingered for doing little to heal such rot, the Government is equally guilty of failing to tame this raw ethnicity.
Ideally, there are two major diseases that assail us – ethnicity and endemic blindness. We seem as nation to have lost vision. We no longer see clearly because we have decided to wear prisms of our self centredness, greed, and ethnic baggage in leadership and we never dare admit it.
The raw ethnicity blindly sees only the tribe of the person, not the action or capacity or qualities of the individual. Distorted ethnic vision is manifested in immediate primitive reactions.
It has been suggested by some leaders, for instance, that the Tana murders are driven by ethnicity or political power greed. Just how mad and raw is this “ethnic vision” that it can drive the political class to set their Oromo and Pokomo tribesmen to butcher one another to claim senatorial of gubernatorial seats?
The default position irrespective of moral culpability or gaping evidence, even in such circumstances, is that the politicians are right “because they belong to my group”. Consequently “we” defend them by any means: the rule of law is suspended, good and evil cease to exist, indecency and dishonesty is permitted, violence, nay, is allowed to achieve the “good” of self glorification of a “group”. And then we call that politics.
Slavery was propagated and defended with similar mindsets. The slave had no rights and indeed was not a person; he was a lower type of tribe.
History teaches that dehumanising slavery split the US. George Washington’s word to awaken the consciences of the peoples, to our aspiring leaders:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Endemic blindness has made us insensitive to the most atrocious actions right in front of our very eyes. Indeed “raw ethnicity” very soon affects our moral and intellectual “eyesight” and judgement. We refuse to see. We talk of abstract corruption, dishonesty, rule of law, but do we really see what is happening on streets?