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By Bernard Wainaina
CEO,Profarms Consultants®

I am a tribalist.

I embrace tribalism.

Today, I will celebrate my tribe. I ask you to celebrate your tribe.

And as I do it,leave my tribe alone;it is not the cause of all of your political problems.

Average parents know that the best way to keep a child busy is to keep giving it things to play with: it could be a car key, then a bedroom key, the car key again, then the bedroom key.

The child will be happy.

One does not need to be a professional parent, if ever there was such a term, to keep the attention of the child distracted; no matter the IQ of the child.

Astute politicians know that the best way to control the citizens’ psyche is to constantly create debates, and situations warranting debates.

Before the debate of sugar farmers woes in Nyanza or Migori chaos is over; there is a building collapse; and before that is over, there is theft of state house equipment,nay,a presidential escort car with all thieves involved coming from a certain tribe in western Kenya; and before that is over, there is burning
of cultural centres; and before that is over, there is ‘another wife’ asking for child support from a prominent politician; and before that is over, there is debate on high interest rates,referendum,devolution,name it.

One doesn’t need to be a professional politician, if ever there was such a term, to distract the masses into their tribal cocoons, no matter the number of graduates amongst them.

Average people will do average things to control average people.

It is called manipulation.

So it is with tribalism.

What is wrong with tribalism?

Nothing of course, just as there is nothing wrong with being a man or woman; a Muslim, or Christian; or being black, white or coloured.

But when everything is the same, and we wish to cause disharmony, we must find differences in similar things, and so, we go for difference which we cannot change.

We go for tribe because it is difficult to change ones tribe.

Then we reduce nepotism to tribe.

This is utter stupidity, we are not nepotic because we are Luos,Kikuyus, Dinka, Jews, Chinese, Japanese, or Russians.

All of us are potentially nepotic.

What makes us nepotic is not tribe, but greed, lack of ethics, and lack of controls.

We are nepotic because we can be, not because we are of a certain tribe.

Rationalising corruption on tribalism is equally banal and vain.

Rationalising violence on a tribe is stupid!

Otherwise,all the violent people in the world would belong to one tribe!

Are we corrupt because we speak with clicks in our language?

Do we practice tender-preneurship because we were born amongst cattle herders?

Do we practice hoarding of goods, theft of public funds, and sale of rotten maize because we migrated along the shores of lake Malawi?

Of course not.

We do it because we choose to.

We are corrupt because we choose to as individuals, and we get away with it because someone lets us.

Tribalism has nothing to do with corruption.

Then we fault all our civil wars on tribe.

How basic!

Do people go to slash each other because the others are not, for example, Luos?

If that is the case, why not slash all Arabs, Luhyas, Maasai, Kalenjin, Orma, Somali, Xhosa, Boers, and Indians?

After all, they are also not Luos.

If they slash them because they are Luos, why do they also slash fellow Luos who associate with the other people(political moles?


We do not go to tribal civil war because we are Dinka, Arab, Shia, Jews, European, or black.

We go to civil war because we feel if we do not, we will never have better roads, better schools, a share of our the natural resources and government employment, among others.

All these are decisions taken by men, men of any, and all tribes.

Tribes have nothing to do with arming youth with tattered shoes to throw at a presidential dias in Migori.

This kind of mischief is planned by individuals,not the whole tribe.

We charge underdevelopment on tribe.

How retrogressive a thinking mode!

Tribes do not build roads or bridges in Bundalang’i, no!

Decisions on how to allocate resources
are responsibility of individuals in government,not my tribe.

Tribes do not build universities, no, money does that, and money is controlled by. Individual people in the government.

Tribes do not build hospitals, or generate and
distribute electricity, or grow and process food

People do, and the resources needed are
controlled by people.

People decide not to release the resources, then instead of arguing for resources,we argue for tribe.

It is cheap, and easy, to blame tribe.

Tribe is so visible that once you invoke its name, you need not make further arguments.

There is no tribe that is inherently violent,but certain individuals within a tribe can instigate violence.

All tribes are both arrogant and gentle.

Humans by nature are both stupid, and intelligent, in equal measure.

We can choose to act foolish, or wise, as fits our circumstances and objectives.

But since it is hard to sustain an intellectual argument on why things are they way they are, we go on and on why tribes are right, and wrong.

We might as we all argue that males and bad, and females are good.

After all, like sex, tribes are not chosen by us, and we will never change.

It is beautiful to be tribal in the sense that it gives identity to a certain community that we belong to.

We should all celebrate a national tribal day, and we should call it just that, tribal, ethnic, day, not such fancy word as cultural days.

We must call things by their right names; it is
the first mark of wisdom.

Today, I will celebrate my tribe. I ask you to celebrate your tribe.

I will wear a t-shirt bearing the words: I
am a Luo or a Kikuyu.

I will greet fellow Luos or Kikuyus in my tribal language.

I will dance to Luo tunes or Kikuyu tunes, and I will sing my tribal songs.

I am a luo or a Kikuyu, body and soul.

And I will encourage you, a Xhosa, a Jew and an Arab to dance to your own tune

Let us be original, exotic, authentic, and natural.

Let us be who we are, so that we can respect each other as equals.

We are all tribal.

We are tribes.

We are humans.

Humans are tribes.

Humans are tribal.

That’s how God meant us to be.

It is not a crime to be a Luo or a Kikuyu.

It is just the way God meant us to be!

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®