A while back, someone was too callous to compare my ability to work with my tribe! They went ahead to even state that my behavior does not reflect my tribe. Clearly, I missed the class where one is supposed to act in a certain manner since they come from a particular tribe.
I admit, when I was younger, I was a subscriber to such thoughts. But as I have grown and met different people in life, I most certainly had a change of heart. I do not judge an individual based on their tribe, I judge them based on their character. Those close to me know I do not care what your tribe is, and if for some reason someone were to make a tribal comment or pass judgment due to tribal lines, I will call you out quick fast and in a hurry!
You come to me with things like, “you know people from tribe X are cheaters”, or something like “be careful with people from tribe Y, they are murderers or thieves” I will challenge your rationale. Why? Because anyone can cheat, anyone can steal, anyone can kill. We judge someone by their actions, not by which corner of the country they come from.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that these are stereotypes that have been with us since before independence. But don’t you think these stereotypes are now causing more harm than good? How on earth, at this day and age, can we still be reasoning on tribal lines? Get on social media and witness the hate being passed around by grown men and women. You will be left in utter disbelief! I get that probably that is what most of us were raised on by our parents. But we should by now, know better. As far as I am concerned, kabila ni mbili mtu wangu, TAJIRI na MASKINI! It’s a definite war between the have and the have not’s.
Take politics, for example, we have ‘Mtu Wetu’ syndrome. All reasoning goes out the window when politics are involved. You will meet well cultured, well learned and very well put together people in this country who will base their political opinions solely on the tribe. Kenyans vote on political lines because that is what we have been made to trust as right. That if we don’t vote for ‘mtu wetu’, we will suffer and face dreadful consequences. So instead of voting in leaders who will actually bring change to our country, we vote basic mediocre ones just because they are from our tribe. In the end, what do we get; Bad governance, horrible leadership and terrible economic times. Remember the post-election violence? It really is sad.
What we don’t understand is that this hatred we have towards others is fodder for our politicians. They will ensure that they continually separate us based on tribal lines so that we can never actually come as one and call them out on their bullshit. Remember Napoleon’s Divide and Rule technique? He was able to divide and separate the masses in order to prevent them from being powerful. That is what is done to us poor Kenyans. Some funny politician will, in public, hate and discriminate on a particular tribe and nothing much will be done about it. He will get off with a slap on his wrist.
So instead of playing their game, why don’t we try to be a little more open-minded and realize that the person next to you is just as human as you are? Let us stop walking around with unfounded pride because we belong to certain tribes. Why don’t we endeavor to have friends from all walks of life and understand their culture and way of life? Can we, as a generation, teach our kids that there is so much more to Kenya than tribe? That we can actually vote leaders, make friends, marry and co-exist based on other things instead of tribe.
One thing that I have seen with my own two eyes is that Kenyans love one another. Meet us in times of tragedy, take the August 7th bomb blast, the attacks on Westgate and Dusitd2, the Garrissa university attack, etc., we show up and show out. We help one another so effortlessly, so tirelessly and we never discriminate on who to help. Have you met KOT? Ruthless human beings. You try to cyberbully us, you will literally regret why you woke up that morning. Kenyans cannot be bullied. If only we could carry the same energy, the same zeal, to our everyday lives and realize that we are one. (but ikikuja ni politics, sijui ni kashetani kagani kautuingia!) We can coexist and love one another so fiercely that no one person, not even a politician can come between us. That will be the day my friends. But what do I know; I’m just a simple girl with big dreams.
I love the way we are embracing intertribal marriages nowadays. Because love is love! You fall in love with a guy from the other side of the country, let no one stop you. We are breaking barriers and ‘fixing Kenya’. Let me give you my example, my SO is Luhya/Luo/Taita and I am Kikuyu. My son knows and actually brags that he is a member of four tribes. So if one day he brings me a girl who equally belongs to two or more different tribes, then what will their children be? We will have a concoction of tribes that soon enough all tribes will be ‘diluted’ and no longer will we think based on tribes. That is my dream for Kenya. But till that day, I will champion and encourage everyone around me to do and be better.
So, my dearest people, let us, love, let us embrace, and let us have a positive attitude towards our neighbors, our friends, and our country. Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. Before you pick up that panga or stone, before you type that hateful tribal message or comment, before you open your mouth and spew vile words to another, take a step back and evaluate yourself. Is it really necessary? No one chose to be born to a certain tribe, we got ourselves there, but what we do with it is what counts!
I still insist, there are only two tribes in Kenya; TAJIRI NA MASKINI. Where do you fall?