WE ARE TO BLAME
I was sited with Eko dydda a local gospel musician with awards streaming along with his title. I look at him as he passionately tells me about his initiative to make Kenya a country free of tribalism. The way he expresses his concern and zeal to make his course dubbed ‘TRIBE ALL’ gets me thinking…we are failing as journalists, we are failing as Kenyans.
Our media is a major flop and a huge contributor to criminalizing each other in a tribal way by the headlines we put across, by the content we gold rush for…negative news on tribalism. True we have to tell it like it is, but at times we contribute to making the masses believe that there is no way this vice can be done away with. Eko dydda gets a lot of fame and attention for his awards and also his music, we as journalists have heard of his cry against tribalism, but NO that’s not what makes headlines, is it? Because we are so busy researching on stories that will make us famous, negative stories. Am sorry to say this but media prompts us to be tribal. Take the case of Nyeri women, these are things that happen but people got to crusade it just because all case studies revolved around the Nyeri woman. Headlines such as, Will ‘Kamau’score votes from Nyanza province (such headlines, I ask myself, what is the message being brought out).
We are a closed minded nation that assumes issues that don’t affect us directly! We ignore the hatred and threats of violence that are catalyzed by tribal woes and in turn create humor out of those issues that sensitively affect our way of thinking, sadly unconsciously we become tribal. We reassuringly declare to each other how NOT tribal we are but when we look at it politically we hurriedly sieve our politicians in a tribal way, and even enforce others to follow our ideologies. We are a free nation right? At least I think so. I loved an article I read in The East African newspaper, L. Muthoni Wanyeki‘s column, ‘… Finally let’s question what it means to be a Kenyan Citizen –holding full citizenship rights to freely select our leadership. The key word being ‘freely’. I resent being hustled towards conforming with some sort of ETHNIC box on the basis of decisions taken by people who frankly ,have nothing to do with what I believe in or what I aspire to-for myself or my country…’
We as Kenyans are in the habit of excluding and oppressing each other with our ethnic differences and hardly is there compatibility between each other, as long its tribal ‘hatuskizani’ . ‘Tribe All’ initiative targets four things,
- Naming System- this deals with basically changing the naming system, avoiding the tribal names. Before you start hawking your opinions and labeling me all sorts of names, get this I know it is quite a task but I am positive I believe change can happen and it starts with us. Some of you will argue about culture and heritage, but the so tradition we fight for is the same one that is killing us. Some of our work places, to secure jobs our maiden and last names matter so as to crème the shortlisted candidates.
- Language- having a common language. Amazing how Tanzania has over 120 tribes but we all know them for one language Swahili but Kenya which only has 42 tribes, busy popularizing our tribes and side lining those from different ethnic groups. Yes Swahili, English and Sheng’ languages are cropping amongst us, and most of us are embracing the culture by using them as our day to day language of communication, but a lot has to be done in the sensitization, so that we can do away with the marginalizing of ethnic differences.
- Land- acquisition of land in all places, so that we can do away with our made up Myths-, central is a land of the Kikuyu’s, Nyanza is the land of the Luos, Western for Lughyas etc. By doing this integration amongst various communities can be enhanced.
- Intermarriage- this is something that we as Kenyans are at least doing. Nowadays getting marrying in a different community is not a big deal as it was in the old days, by doing this we do away with tribalism because our children will be of different communities, and maybe when they get to the age of marrying, might also intermarry.
Eko dydda’s initiative is what should be given attention to, yes he has music that we all dance to and can’t keep off our minds, he is also an amazing performer, but what about stemming from the entertaining scene and taking interest in what affects us as Kenyans. Our media is failing; we should be riding behind such courses, being aggressive on giving it air time. We have so much nonsensical things to air, a lot of gossip to share, how about drifting and involving Kenyans in such like courses, and YES more so because it’s the election year.
Lets us stop treating each other with hatred and intolerance, this tribal issues are escalating into a near full scale war and if we continue with the assumption that it will all be okay, we might have a Re-make of Post Election Violence.
It’s just a tremor, let it not be an earthquake…tribalism can be done away with, change starts with us. SPREAD THE