Archive | November, 2013

Of Tribalism and the Poverty of Progressive Conscience among Kenyans

23 Nov

By Javas Bigambo, the grand-child of Samson

It is altogether intriguing and humbling that every mortal, rich or poor, was bequeathed a rich estate of conscience. As to how each uses his or her conscience is not worlds apart with how they use their money.
Whenever I meet people who have ably titrated then now filter their emotions and are celebrated ambassadors of tribal idiocy and who find solace in the smallness of such cocoon, I realize that tribalism can never be killed by policies or the Cohesion and Integrated Commission.

Javas Bigambo: Tribalism is nothing but a mission of death

Javas Bigambo: Tribalism is nothing but a mission of death

If such can ever be achieved, it must be an individual odyssey, and from such pilgrimage we can find purpose in mutual coexistence. Debates on the ICC have been reduced to matters of tribes. How awful that we reduce and make great discussions an absurd theater of small-time tribal thinking.

The beauty of thinking is such that the latitude and oscillation on the ground of ideas should give room to tolerance, understanding and humility, especially when your ideas are necessarily right. Kenya continues to be a land so wasted, and thirsting for barrenness even when fertility is its portion.

Every so often i meet people who are keen to ask me where I come from; or how is it that I have a name so unique; or from which tribe I come from since my sir name does not make it obvious.

Pray, what would make right-thinking people to ask me of tribe and where I come from? No, i have no problem with giving correct answers, but I never do. For, I am not interested much in where I come from, but in where I am going to. For the record, I take no pride in tribe. I have gone to school, I am ordinarily well groomed and I have food on my table for my stomach. None of these things have been given to me by the tribe.

Of course politicians are the greatest ever known fertilizer of tribalism. They harp at the tribal strings every so often and during elections merely for personal gain. Whenever they are caught in an antagonising intricate web of corruption, they claim that the law is after the tribe. Sadly, during campaigns, politicians, their strategists and political parties only look at Kenyans along the lines of tribal arithmetic. Looking back, even political leaders have taken no lessons from Kenya’s tragico-political miseries suffered by our body politic. It is not in dispute that the Post-Election Violence of 2008/09 was fueled and sustained by tribal yearnings.

Successive government regimes have fed tribalism to my chagrin. It is sad that 90% of presidential appointments are made on the strength of the tribe, and even Parastatal bodies have taken notes from political trends. What gratification does one derive from tribal inclination?

My grandfather Samson keeps telling me whenever we meet that no human being is independent, and that we all need the other. Unfortunately, beyond the many illiterate citizens, those Kenyans who are well educated and quite exposed are among those counted as the most tribal of living mortals.

The tribe has no soul, it never works hard and it has never paid my school fees, or bought me food, or fueled my car. The tribe serves no purpose other than the fact that it is a social construct that should serve to make people to relate across culture, do common business and share a heritage.

The tribe should not serve to set us apart, make us hate, or make us think we are superior and that others are lesser earthlings. If that is what it is supposed to serve then I reject it as useless. Any tribe that creates rifts with others is a waste and a pain so grave.