What’s your tribe:much ado about nothing!

 What’s your tribe? : much ado about nothing!

Some NGO or other has decided to enter the fray of trying to figure  out the ‘ethnic healing’ quagmire in Kenya. It has decided to hit the ground running by advocating for the removal of the question of tribe from the census questionnaire, and has gone a step further to dare send out volunteers to accompany the enumerators telling people not to answer the ‘tribe‘ question.


For starters somebody ought to tell these guys that statistics is one nonsensical branch of science whose practical benefits even the statisticians can’t explain. For instance, after the census, there will be ridiculous figures such as

a) The per capita income in Kenya is ksh.600, 000 per annum. How much does an unemployed youth earn?

b) The national debt divided by the population in Kenya is about ksh. 35,000 per head.. So, when are you planning to start repaying that debt?


Secondly, any statistician worth his salt will tell you that it’s pretty easy to come up with quite accurate figures about tribe even without asking the particular question. I mean, there’s no way in hell a name like Njuguna will belong to a Caucasian race!


Thirdly, the act of not mentioning my tribe doesn’t make me non tribal: it actually makes one a hypocrite. In fact, the idea that changing my name to Ephraim Simon from Ephraim Njuguna will make me non-tribal is not only ludicrous, but imbecilic too.


The upshot: tribe will always be part of us, and if you even remotely think you can get people out of their tribes, then you are a stupid dog-  sorry, you are like a dog-  that keeps running away from its tail!


What we need to do is to let the tribe be. Stop hyping on it as a negative thing; you will just make people internalize it.  I can imagine the scenario if the said NGO was allowed its way. The census official asks the questions to a family. All are answered until the ‘tribe’ question, and the ‘anti tribe question’ official butts in with “ don’t answer that!”. After the exercise, the children ask the parents: “why were you told not to answer that?”. The parent answers that it’s because ‘tribe’ is bad.  “Which one?”, the child still wants to know.


Then you get wondering, who is more stupid? The one who is funding such a stupid project, the one who wrote the proposal or the implementers. If these guys are bright, then, I am a rocket scientist!


By the bye, since Kenyans are so fixated on groups, are we likely to see another project in future demanding the removal of ‘gender question’ from the census, in the spirit of dealing with gender inequality…?

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