Only National Leadership Can Save Kenya From Ethnicity
By Hon Koigi Wamwere
As Kenyan communities become more disparate and antagonistic, many people are of the opinion that only nationalism can unite Kenyans, not negative ethnicity which we revere as our creed and religion, a leprosy we have refused to cure despite the vagaries it inflicts upon us.
When I was a young man, I remember travelling thirty miles on foot to go and hear national leaders like Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya, Bildad Kaggia, Masinde Muliro, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and others whom we believed would liberate Kenyans whatever tribe they were. In following these leaders, I did not remember what tribe I was or what tribe they were. They were simply Kenyan leaders.
Today I hear Kikuyu mothers referring to their uninitiated sons as inhuman animals who without circumcision have no human worth. This makes me wonder how inhuman we must regard other communities that don’t circumcise their male children.
If we can embrace the humanity of all Kenyans, it shall hardly matter who of us becomes President of out country, MP or MCA of our area. This will also take away the sting of that scorpion we call election whose violence we continue to embrace and simultaneously swear against.
We must remind leaders who preach unity that such togetherness will remain illusionary and a mirage if we don’t have an ideology that will unite and make us love one another instead of clinging to the ideology of ethnic hate that makes us loath one another.
If we turn our backs against negative ethnicity, we shall share power and resources on basis of merit and need and not ethnicity. And while imbued with negative ethnicity, we shall also share resources equitably and not scramble over them on a basis of greed.
As we look for national unity, we shall pick our leaders on a basis of services, beliefs, ideologies and vision, not ethnic patriotism. Resultantly we shall have the best possible leaders and services while our heroes and leaders will be national not regional or ethnic.
Persons who base their ideology on negative ethnicity should never be national leaders. Nor should they be local leaders. They can only do immeasurable harm to the country. Yet we embrace ethnic leaders and elect them to the highest offices. Then we complain of their poor services that they never promised.
People who discriminate and serve their communities with more zeal than other communities should never be national leaders. As long as they depend on negative ethnicity to perpetuate themselves in power, they will destroy country and annihilate enemy communities with ethnic massacres and genocide.
To become one nation, we must not allow greed of power and wealth to divide and turn people against one another. When people in power succeed to divide people and turn them against each other, people are easily subjected to fear, silence, exploitation, prosecution and even death.
But should Kenyans reject national unity, they should be ready for consequences of hate, hostility, weakness, powerlessness, exploitation and poverty. We must have leaders who will not divide Kenyans, whether for power or wealth in the names of their communities. There are no leaders who eat for their communities.
When persons lead their ethnic communities supposedly for their good, how can such leaders be trusted with fate of country? At best these leaders can only be trusted for the good of county if dominated by his community. Unfortunately most Kenyan leaders base their leadership on community support and can only be defined as ethnic leaders that are of no good to the country.
The challenge now is how tribalists can be removed from national leadership. First people must agree the country needs national, not ethnic leaders who can only spell doom for the country.
Indeed no country may develop if led by ethnic divisive leaders whose purpose is to put themselves first and discriminate others in the name of communities with whom they share no loot.
The issue of eliminating ethnic leaders is more urgent now that ever before. Unless the country is united it can neither stand nor develop. Failure to wrestle and slay the dragon of negative ethnicity will spell doom and lead to demise of country and nationalism. Look at all our leaders. They are all ethnic before they are national.
Koigi wa Wamwere,
3rd October, 2018.