TRIBALISM

INTRODUCTION

The following article is an expose of the oscillations that has characterized the tribal relations among some ethnic groups in Kenya since independence. It is note worthy that the now-we- are- friends -now -we -are- enemies situation sometimes degenerates into physical confrontations as was witnessed in the 2007 – 2008 post election violence. These conflicts do not arise from hatred among the individuals of different communities rather they arise from a kind of general sentiment that trickle down from political leaders in relation to their political power struggles.

At the end of the series, I am hoping to disabuse all  intelligent people (Kenyans or foreigners) of two all pervasive notions, viz.:

a) That tribalism (read hatred amongst people) is the root cause of conflicts, past or present in kenya.

b) That organizing peace meetings between communities will bring long-lasting peace, as some NGOs and Ranneberger are doing. There are a few things I hate more than confusing activity with achievement!

Tribalism is one of the top five most used words in the Kenya’s political discourse, currently shoulder to shoulder with words like grand coalition government, Kibaki, Kalonzo and Raila.

Tribalism has various definitions world over, ranging from negative (primitive, non Western) through positive (egalitarianism, classlessness) to neutral (just belonging to a tribe). An interesting definition, and rather fitting in the case of Kenya’s recent violence is tribe/tribalism by an Ayn Rand

In Kenya, the term tribalism is usually loosely translated to mean the tendency to favour people from one’s community and hate those from other communities. It is also used interchangeably with negative ethnicity.

Trying to pin it down contextually is, however, easier said than done. This is clear when one analyzes the tribal relations dynamics in Kenya since independence.

I will let you make your own conclusions once you go through chapters one to seven.

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