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Kenya has only two tribes; the rich and the poor

By Ojiambo Ainea | October 20th 2021

One Charles Otieno, after the August 2017 elections, posted the following: “Kenyans are a hypocritical lot. Now they think that (Abduba) Dida is wise but cannot vote for him. In fact, Nairobians kicked Boniface Mwangi in the teeth after all the activism work. Now that we are tribal to the core, why are Kikuyu and Luos still having sex with each other if they cannot vote beyond their tribes?”

He went on to advice those abusing friends from different tribes over elections that by and by, we will all need each other for contributions - ranging from pre-wedding, wedding and soft loans. He finished off by saying that, “Let us be measured in our perceived win or other loss. The good book tells us to watch our tongues!”

Elections in Kenya come every five years during which time erstwhile ‘friends’ retreat to their tribal cocoons. We are tribes first and Kenyans second. When we do well in sports, we all pretend to be Kenyans and dance together. But if you check well, you’ll realise that people don’t trust each other. This is mainly evident in Luo Nyanza and Central Kenya. The funny thing is, people from these two regions inter-marry the most.

I grew up with some people who have been posting very dangerous things online, yet when we meet on social functions, tribe never comes up. If you check their social media timelines, you’ll get shocked.

This tribalism has become so bad that I know many Christians don’t even trust their preachers because they come from a certain tribe. The truth of the matter is some of these so-called church leaders are very tribal. For example, why will one ban the song Going to Canaan just because Nasa had alluded to Canaan as their next government after ‘liberating’ Kenyans? Church leaders tend to go back to their tribes and come out later after elections to try and correct the situation, but by then, it would be too late.

Maybe the reason I find the church leaders tribal is because during our days, being a Roman Catholic, most of the church leaders were missionaries and had no tribal alignment. Most of us came to know about tribe when we started working.

I tell people that being a businessman, I go to friends whom I grew up with like Bernard Karuru, Noah Muga, John Gicaci and Abdul. What Kenyans should know is that the common denominator is money and life. These friends even joke that when the time comes to transport my body for burial, I will have to be transported by air, so that I don’t get confused because being a born-city, I might decide not to get out of the coffin!

I would like to remind the youth who are hardly 18 and posting dangerous tribal messages on social media that many people are reading their posts. These days, most employers go through social media to background check potential employees.

Just like posting nudes, posting tribal and hateful messages will one day be your undoing. Out there, life is about connections and not tribes. The only tribes that exist here are two: the rich and the poor. These people fighting politically have known each other for years and actually call each other for deals. So, don’t be blinded. Life is too short to start hating other people because of their tribes.

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