So my short-lived honeymoon and love affair with this my country is over. Sad, right. Reality check has set in.
I guess it is not possible to see the beauty of this country and not see what is also so wrong with it. What stands between the success that I envision and the rut hole we often are in.
The just ended Olympics were interesting to watch. But more interesting was the support all Kenyans gave to ‘team Kenya’ despite its disappointing dismal performance in the Olympics (a topic for another day). I was amazed at how everywhere you turned we were ll talking such proud Kenyan speak. Facebook was ablaze with comments of a nation proud to be Kenyan. We were keen to show off our running capabilities. We were all behind team Kenya.
No one cared what tribe they were from, or religion; just that they were Kenyan. In fact, you should have had many of us discrediting the ‘Kenyans’ who represent other countries. I mean how can they be that unpatriotic. Yer right, you would think we are the most patriotic nation.
Then we forget….
The reality is we are so tribal it hurts. Everywhere I go, people are interested in knowing my second name, and then they can place any views I have to my tribe. We elect our leaders based on tribes. We are always suspicious of other tribes.
And tribes are a reality in this country. Recently I noticed that one of the radio stations I love is primarily served by people from one region. But do I blame them, no. I honestly do not even care, this radio station ministers to me and that is enough. People from my region however will not be caught ner this station, really!
Surprisingly it is the younger generation that is even more tribal. You would think that they would not care, coming from a more cosmopolitan position but no.
Now we have taken our separation of people a notch higher, the Muslims are up in arms against the Christians in our coastal regions. One of their leaders was assassinated and somehow to them the right place to their anger is against their Christian counterparts.
I used to think that the reason we are so conscious of our tribe had something to do with the divide and rule measures that the colonist used. And it probably does. However, I look to the world we are in and I see the segregation of Muslims and Christians, I see the division of the English, Scotts and Welsh people, the Jews to the non-Jews, then I know all human beings have an innate fallen nature that wants to imagine that we are better than others. I guess in Kenya we have just taken that a notch higher.
No longer a tenant
Recently a friend of mine posted on Facebook that Kenyans we often act like we are tenants to this country, we forget that when Kenya burns, we all burn; regardless of our tribe, religion or allegiances.
This is my country, this is your country. You will never have any other.
For that reason, I will no longer behave like I am a tenant in this country; it is the only country that will ever be mine. So I will take my place as an owner, everything I do will be from an owner’s perspective. I will embrace other Kenyans. I will only be bothered by what grows this nation, and tribalism does not. Neither does any other separation. I am a Kenyan first, and then my tribe follows. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a tenant to this nation and I will not have tenants decide the fate of the owners.
Truth be told, what tribe you are has no bearing on what I eat or live on. So I will tolerate your different views. I will see you as what you are, a Kenyan. That I believe is the prevalent teaching in all religions, even the pagans, love one another.
I will hang onto that moment when ‘Rudisha’ not only won a gold medal but broke the world record. I was so Kenyan!