Of Tribalism…

Belonging to a Tribe(ethnic group) is just one of the myriads of identities an individual has as a member of the society. It’s just like being a member of a family, a church, a university, social class etc. It’s neither negative or positive.

This identity turns negative and becomes Tribalism (or negative ethnicity) in cases of competition. It’s informative that tribalism ONLY rears it’s ugly head in cases of competition either for resources, or authority to control the distribution of those resources.

Let me give an example. If the identity called you and yours truly were in a competition, whom would you support? What of if our children were competing, would you really support mine rather than your son or daughter? Remember london olympics 2012,which country did you support (especially in games where you had countrymen/women competing?)

Politics is essentially a competition for the power or authority to manage public resources. In a democracy, Politicians need the numbers to emerge as the win. To get the numbers a politician will appeal to members of his/her family, clan,tribe, religion etc depending on the position at stake, or the identity with the requisite numbers.

Most People will always tend to support someone with whom they have a commonality, including sharing a world view, having similar beliefs,being from the same tribe,having similar policies, etc.

Tribalism is basically, ethnocentrism, where individuals feel that their tribe is better than the others. This might extend to the feeling that one’s tribe is the only one capable of leadership or deserves leadership.

When it comes to politics, this kind of tribalism leads to people electing mediocre leaders just because they are from their tribe.

The easiest way of addressing the issue of tribalism is to remove all situations where ethnic identity can be invoked as a source of “numbers”. In Kenya, devolution in the new constitution will go a long way in addressing the issue of competition of resourses,but the presidency is still an issue.The COE erred by putting the requisite threshold of the attainment of the presidency so high,effectively sustaining the flawed perception that the presidency is still as all powerful as in the old constitution. As long as this perception remains there’ll always be people who’ll prey on the gullibility of their ethnocentrists to try get elected. Tribalism will just get worse unless we can deal with the “small” issue of electing the president. And you can take this to the Shylock.

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One Response to “Of Tribalism…”

  1. Arapyegon chitabkoret Says:

    Kenya is bigger than all of us. Constitution is sketchy giving parliament undue prowses over the resources and authority over it. Legislative and executive powers be trimmed to just oversight role only.

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