By Kabando wa Kabando
A day in politics is a very very long time. Within 48 hours — Friday to Saturday — old fears amongst some communities in Narok and Kajiado counties were awakened. Thanks to careless and maybe naive statements by local politicians desperate to become kingpins through Narok’s Building Bridge Initiative (BBI) rally. Vain attempt. Infertile idea.
Yes, it is true we can’t pretend we aren’t “tribal”, but also true is that in many places, for example, Narok, Trans Nzoia and Laikipia counties, multiethnic communities live harmoniously. It is the politics of tribe and money/resources control that drive ethnic intolerance and hate. We are Kenyans first until incited by stupid politics. Actually many homesteads there and elsewhere are multiethnic.
I see the tribal bigots facing hard times in the next election, but after causing havoc and pain. Inter-ethnic marriages are very integrated in many zones. Though I don’t see the hate crusaders winning in the long-term, they will create big short-term problems. They should and must be stopped, urgently.
Protecting minority interests doesn’t mean fighting others, who in this case are the minorities in these localities.
I still strongly support the broader BBI agenda, even as the Narok theme wasn’t obviously well-thought-out. It easily reminds one of Enosupukia tragedies. Truth said the Maa community is the kindest and hospitable people. In fact, many of us of Kikuyu pedigree are of traceable Maa descent.
I schooled in the Maa heartland and I have lived their exceptionally great lovely tolerance and friendship. So, the self-serving and posturing of a few warlike tribal leaders shouldn’t overwhelm the well-meaning BBI agenda.
In any case, who is a 100 percent pure Maasai or Kikuyu today? Wokabi of Nyeri or Nyokabi of Kiambu? We from Nyeri are definitely linked to Laikipia’s Maa clan.
My only worry is that senior leaders who presided over the Narok’s BBI rally did not care to correct the mistakes, there and then. They failed and that makes the BBI journey ahead tougher, but still surmountable.
Tanga Tanga faction is seeking to harvest big from the mistake but BBI is not just about land and elections.
In Narok, leaders spoke powerfully about conservation. So, we can easily see Tanga Tanga opportunism taking advantage.
But because politics of perception are more potent than that reality, time to call our BBI house into order.
We have a Somali and an Asian in Nyanza as MPs. We have a Somali MP amongst the Kikuyu in Nanyuki. We have an MP of Asian descent in Meru County. And until the recent tragedy, we had a Luo MCA in Kiambu County.
All Nairobi MPs were elected by multiethnic voters and so was the President and even Raila Odinga. So it is wrong to think that one needs to be of same ethnic identity to defend communities.
This is the time to call ethnic chiefs to order but as we do this, let’s not condemn ethnic pride which is our heritage and pride.
It should not be lost to observers that the most outspoken villain in Narok has been viciously opposed to BBI. Only a few days before, he attacked BBI on live television. In fact, he is a known Deputy President William Ruto supporter camouflaging in the Orange Democratic Movement
I recall he once angrily rebutted me on television for criticizing DP Ruto. My question is, why is Raila not seeing this?
Why are Raila supporters turning BBI into a Raila chorus? Those chants of “nikisema BBI, semeni Baba” are not helping anyone at all, they’re selfish.
They have given Tanga Tanga a lifeline, thanks to both trivial politics and infiltration of BBI politics by Tanga Tanga agents to implode and explode. No wonder Ruto spoke so confidently about stopping reggae as the Narok comments sparked a nationwide debate.
If BBI fails, we should as well brace for very agonizing times ahead. With economy hurting badly, if politics hurt more, this country we call home won’t be.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila definitely have a noble and herculean task ahead. They shouldn’t allow selfish and self-serving forces to ruin the BBI spirit and agenda.
Train getting off rail
I pray that notwithstanding and despite the hurdles and conspiracies, BBI wins for Kenya’s good and our destiny.
God guiding Kenya, and our top leaders taking the cue and boldly mending appropriately, BBI agenda will triumph and endure into posterity.
God first. One Kenya, of our diversity in with sharing egalitarian prosperity and a fitting democracy.
Out diversity is our wealth.
Kabando wa Kabando is a former Mukurweini Constituency MP.