By Koigi Wamwere
People are already preaching national dissolution, rotational presidency, ethnic war and secession as a solution to ethnic discrimination, corruption, unequal development and election rigging.
But can people rationally destroy their nation to gain equality, self-destruct to solve problems, or commit suicide to end life’s tribulations?
We have been here before. And although we swore “never again”, we seem hypnotised by death wish.
Then as now, negative ethnicity propels us to national suicide. It is an ideology that devours nationalism, divides, and kills the nation spiritually before annihilating it physically. Negative ethnicity also prescribes destruction and genocide of enemy communities as the quinine of our problems.
Problem of Separation
But when people are beset by problems, can separation from and elimination of others be a solution to those problems?
From history, we learn the Holocaust against Jews did not give German people the ambition of world rule. Religious intolerance and separation of Pakistan from India did not solve the problems of Pakistan and Indian masses. Ethnic genocide did not end problems of Yugoslavian masses, Rwandan or Nigerian masses.
If anything, where genocide succeeds in creating tiny ethnic states, their people are usually worse off than before.
Problems of negative ethnicity
But in Kenya, are problems of negative ethnicity real or just imaginary?
Undoubtedly, governments made by ethnic parties and coalitions of two or three communities engender exclusion, discrimination and marginalisation of others from power, resources and development.
People cannot talk of ethnic inclusion by governments composed of ethnic leaders who believe they are in power, because of ethnic superiority and natural disqualification of others from power.
Even before we secede from Kenya, to save us from others, negative ethnicity has politically transformed communities into ethnic kingdoms. It has politically transformed ethnic leaders into ethnic kings that imbue their people with great fear. They need protection from external ethnic enemies and demand absolute and blind loyalty and conformity from their own communities.
When elections come, ethnic communities go to them led by their ethnic kings and warlords. Their objective is not to elect best leadership for themselves and country, but to conquer own people, other ethnic kingdoms, and kings. Their goal is to subsequently subjugate them to their elites’ class and ethnic conquest, exploitation, discrimination and oppression.
By going to elections as communities, we reduce elections to zero-sum games that mean life and opportunity to rob for winning elites, and total subjugation and death for losing elites and their communities. Under these circumstances, we must win elections by whatever means necessary.
When ethnic problems pile up, should we destroy the country to solve them?
All national problems, including negative ethnicity grow from bad leadership. Therefore, their solution must lie in using elections to substitute bad with good leaders. But when sham elections cannot remove bad leaders, we should not cut our nose to spite our face by destroying the country. On the contrary, we should seek more effective means of removing bad leaders.
Means to solve our problems
These means can include courts, mobilising voters inter-ethnically, and demonstrating in streets to force a guilty government to resign. After all, killing a nation is more painful than changing a government.
Only simple minds embrace suicide as a solution to problems.
Before and after getting good leaders, people who seek to solve national problems must seek to eradicate negative ethnicity and ethnic leadership as a prerequisite of good leadership. As long negative ethnicity motivates and leads people, they can never make good substitutes to bad leaders.
If we agree that:
- Kenya, with all its resources and power belong to all her people and communities as Kenyans, and
- no leader shall win elections and lead the country to the detriment of any community or citizen,
then we shall not need to end project Kenya to solve our problems.
Instead of leading the country to an ethnic Armageddon after the elections – if Uhuru and Raila can together agree to rally and take the gospel of national unity to the whole country – Kenya may not fall prey to an ethnic war and balkanisation.
‘Divorcing’ will not solve our problems
Yes, it embarrasses all of us when people bastardise democracy with the “tyranny of numbers” that Jubilee MPs chant hilariously, . But it chills one to the bones to hear David Ndii decrying “tyranny of peace” as a call to arms by a person who has forgotten there is no birth without blood. We will most likely birth the ethnic republics that Ndii envisions by war, blood and lots of pain.
When Kibaki and Raila united to liberate the country in 2002, elections were so free and fair. There was no threat of vindictiveness. There was no breach of peace thereafter. However, Kibaki and Raila failed to preach peace and took the nation to elections with everybody spitting fire and brimstone. The inevitable post-election violence happened thereafter.
Uhuru and Raila must now learn from Kibaki and Raila and preach peace, to avoid a repeat of post-election violence.
The colonizers enforced the marriage of Kenyan communities more than 100 years ago. We renewed it in 1963 and has had serious problems since. Ethnic hate and discrimination of negative ethnicity are the root cause of our ethnic problems. Before we address them, we should try a good dose of “reke twendane” (let’s love each other), before we pronounce “reke tumanwo” (let’s part ways) or divorce.
Divorce does not solve problems of marriage but only ends it. Dissolving a nation does not solve her problems either. It only ends it.
(First Published on Hon. Koigi’s Facebook page. Edited for relevancy.)