“To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man.”. ― Aristotle
The Kenyan politics are built and based on competition. A tug of war at the individual level and the other level being the ethnic level. When the colonial masters came, they used divide and rule policy, where communities were antagonized to prevent nationalism, unity and harmony towards independence. This was facilitated by the fact that many communities had been enemies for a long time, hence frequent and sometimes violent conflicts took place. By mid and late 50s, the competition was evident. Kanu and Kadu were the major African parties. Kanu was perceived to be largely dominated by the then large ethnic groups of Kikuyu and Luo. Kadu had been formed to unite the perceived smaller communities such as the Kalenjin and the Maasai to wade off the influence of Kanu’s Kikuyu-Luo dominance.
The colonialists after establishing their influence in Kenya then embarked on elementary education policy. Some ethnic communities benefited more than others, especially those who collaborated during colonial invasion. By independence, the Kikuyu and Luo elite were very vocal. Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, became the president and Jaramogi, a Luo, became the vice president. A major fall out between the two in 1966 would lead to a bitter and vicious struggle which would trickle down to their communities.
The politicians from both communities and their allies started on a massive public brainwashery. Kenyatta even worsened the situation by detaining Jaramogi and using an iron fist on the Luo community, such as the public shooting during the inaugration of the Nyanza Hospital funded by the Russians. In a similar way, Kenyatta locked the rest of the Kikuyu past Chania River and said leadership will forever stay in Kiambu. Hence, Kenyatta and his allies antagonized the two communities. On the other hand, Jaramogi and his allies saw their sufferings as those of the entire community, and that is where the massive brainwashery started. The Luos were led to believe that their leaders’ supression was the whole community’s suppression. Both the Kikuyu and Luo elite brainwashed their communities that they were at war with each other. Hence, the antagonism led to ethnic nationalism and further competition for power.
Moi comes in the picture as the president after Kenyatta’s demise in 1978 and the Kalenjin influence is felt. The influence of the Kalenjin starts to rise and now the rivalry becomes threesome: Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Luo. The competitkon for the highest seat in the land now takes a further tribal dimension in this case. The year 2002 comes and another Kikuyu comes into power! This time it is a joint effort of the Kikuyu-Luo and other ethnic communities to bring down a Kalenjin. The year 2007 sees a Kalenjin-Luo union to bring down A Kikuyu presidency. The situation ultimately leads to the threesome union in a coalition government.
The race to 2013 elections faces the same hurdle, but this time it is strange one. Kikuyu-Kalenjin union versus Luo and lesser Kalenjin union. Factor in the other ethnic communities in the two buses to bring the opposing influence. This time the tasks are two: To prevent another Kikuyu from inheriting power from a Kikuyu, and the other task is to prevent a Luo from ever ascending to the seat of Presidency.
The truth is that no one among the political elite will ever tell the public these things, but majority of the public who have long been drawn into these political brawls know they exist and still they propagate them with full consciousness. Hence, their votes are considered as tools of trade hence are worthless, and are ready to trade them for their community’s status qua. Performance and integrity are foregone at the expense of ethnic identity. These brawls more so, are disguised as political unions being labelled as for public peace, unity and harmony. Such lies in broad daylight!
Consequently, when you are going to cast that vote in March 4th, think again. Are you going to vote for leaders of performance and integrity and who hold a future for this country, or you will be in a bid of stopping another Kikuyu or a Luo from ascending into power? The choice is yours to make. The choice that will determine if we are still intent on ethnic power competition or are ready to change for a better future for this country, where ethnic identity is foregone for performance and integrity.