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Kenya: Increasing tribal sentiments, the shame of a nation of intellectuals

By Mwalimu Miruka Ongoro | June 3rd 2017
Someone said, "As things change, the more they look the same" Kenya is old since we attained self-rule from the British in 1963. We have more learned people than then, better livelihoods, modern roads and now a brand new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), yet as a society, we are increasingly becoming more divided on tribal lines.

The events at a Madaraka Day fete held in Nyeri this year, are still fresh. Forget the fanfare, the warm speeches from the President and his Deputy. Forget the musical pomp and the fighter jets' entertainment. One thing happened that has left many wondering whether we are really a country or tribal entities forced into a marriage that seems not to be working.

Now, doubt that the Kenyattas and Odingas are the dividing factors of this nation. We the innocent Kenyans blindly follow their bandwagons by hating the Luo or Kikuyu. Mr. Odinga was given a wide berth in the Nyeri Madaraka celebrations that were mostly conducted in vernacular. Not once did President Uhuru even acknowledge the opposition leader, or even pretend to have noticed his presence.

While it is not a must for Odinga to have spoken on the occasion, the debate the scenario has created is gargantuan. There are those who support the Jubilee side for humiliating Raila, and you can tell where they come from. However, a majority feel that Uhuruto's handlers scored an own goal, by ensuring that Mr. Odinga was treated like a stranger.

As times change and we gain more knowledge and make economic strides, the more we retrogress socially. The tribalism witnessed today is a thousand fold of what existed in 1963. A time has come when we need to re-examine our nationhood. Are we really happy together as the so-called 43 tribes, or we rather go separately; some people are proposing federalism. Are we really a unitary state anchored on devolution or pretending tribal enclaves forced to coexist?

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