NAIROBI: The ban on tribal associations in public universities to counter radicalisation and negative ethnicity is a bold step.
Essentially, universities are places where the youth are, first and foremost, trained in education and secondly and perhaps most importantly, in critical thinking abilities and problem-solving skills. It is a place where the youth will engage in stimulating discussions. It is not a place for jingoistic, narrow discourse that leads nowhere.
The proliferation of these associations should therefore worry everyone. There are those who will argue that the associations preserve culture. Yes, culture is great when it unites communities and serves the common good. What we are against is the use of cultural background to entrench needless tribal bigotry that demeans other cultures or propagates jingoism.
Often, these associations will encourage in-breeding and accentuate the siege mentality that pervades our politics. Government and especially politicians, should see universities as places for knowledge-sharing and innovation, not as centres for recruiting and nurturing the next tribal kingpins. Universities the world over are the fountains of knowledge where ideas and intelligent discourse are the common currency.
Banning what over time has proven to be a reservoir where politicians draw the next hooligan, trouble-maker and mischief-makers is therefore welcome.