Monday, February 20, 2012


In the months leading up to the elections, cracks are showing up again based on political ideologies. Wait a minute, I will rephrase that. In the lead up to the elections, cracks are showing up in the Kenyan social fabric based on political PERSONALITIES. The first sentence assumed that Kenyan politics is evolved enough to sustain ideologies. The closest you would have to look to understand this is the fact that each election cycle will always see the conception and birth of new political outfits and alliances. Go on. Think about it. Who are you supporting? And what are you basing it on?

Anyway back to the cracks. The amount of rhetoric hitting the airwaves has me so worried. The question continuously posed is whether or not things will be as bad as they were last time. And more and more people seem confident that we know better. I keep hearing how we know better and that we will never be divided as a country again. But still the vitriol is poured and the bile continues to affect us as a nation.

I think the lessons that we learnt in 2007/8 are being forgotten. I watched 'Kenya's Darkest Hour' the other day and I honestly couldn't believe that that was the same country I call home. I had forgotten all the stuff that had taken place. The screams, blood and tears. My baby niece should be a constant reminder of that though. She was born just before that period. The offspring of a Luo mother and a Kikuyu father. The drive to the hospital was fraught with anxiety as we tried to figure out who would be a victim of the gangs patrolling the streets. Thankfully we encountered no such gangs.

This morning someone said something really profound. He said as Kenyans we confuse activity for achievement. Think about it. I was blown away. From a personal standpoint I think this makes immense sense.How so? Scour social media today for all the pages and groups that purport to bring Kenyans together. They are there by the dozens. Well meaning individuals who bring people together to talk about how awesome it is to be Kenyan. That is the activity and there is a lot of it. We are so far from achievement.

The war today is hardly one brought on by tribalism. I once wrote about it how we shouldn't be defined by our tribes. But it still happens. That's why I wasn't very happy when Kiema Kilonzo was caught on camera saying 'wajaluo wanyamaze' at a peace rally. I was offended as a luo and as a Kenyan. It is also as a Luo that I get frustrated by some Nyanza MP's who speak rabidly of Raila Odinga as if he were a deity while their constituents lag behind in developmental indices. But then again as a level headed intellectual, it wouldn't matter what tribe I am because facts don't change because they are looked at through tribal coloured glasses. Which is something I thought about when Murang'a leaders used a national forum to defend the CBK governor against a tribal witch hunt. Believe me when I say professional mediocrity has no tribal defence.

Class warfare is slowly taking the place of tribalism as a hindrance to national cohesion. While it is true we are divided along tribal lines, the issue of class is becoming a bigger stumbling block. The rich live in their ivory towers are apathetic to the needs of the many. Their deals are made with the highest bidder to protect their interests. Ideology is of little concern when you can buy your way into any party. The middle class, made up of bright, upwardly mobile individuals make up the bulk of the people in this social movements. But even then they are mostly from behind computer screens where discussion is the order of the day and action is left to those with bigger needs. And that leaves us with the poverty stricken who will be found at the rallies and the marches and the protests. On their shoulders people stand.

 I do not intend to rock the boat when it comes to unity. I merely want to keep the conversation going. I count myself amongst those 'keyboard activists' who wax poetic about the social ills but never roll up our sleeves and do anything about it. I applaud the idea behind initiatives like KenyaFeb28 but my question is what happens the next day? We stand on the verge of something great. What will our legacy be?


  1. "Kenyans confuse activity for achievement" Very insightful

  2. Kenya will always be that proverbial 'achiever' who's forever on the cusp of greatness...great thoughts nonetheless.