Let’s talk cheap political solutions for Kenya. The kind that will not get the country anywhere, but are easy to hear and parrot this way and that. While I remain open-minded to the extent that these are ideas being debated, and they deserve fair hearing; I maintain that they are inefficient and insufficient.
There is first the idea that Kenya’s true tribes are the rich and the poor. This viewpoint espouses that when we conveniently ignore politics for a moment, and tuck away it’s primacy in policy and economic decisions, we arrive at a logical plateau on which financial ability neatly covers all ethnocentricity and any notions of tribalism. Did I explain that premise sarcastically enough? No? Ok, let’s put it this way, there exist people who are not as yet considered completely ignorant who argue that because some Kenyans eat at high-end hotels and their children go to international schools, that they are in cahoots and are bent on dominating poor Kenyans, that this is the important struggle. This and not the murky, dirty, filthy blob of tribal politics. Kind of true. Kind of. Also true is that this nouveau riche class do not like each other much, after all they are not removed from living in the same political environment as the poor. Tribalism does not discriminate its adherents. Economic class does not negate a political viewpoint, it solidifies it.
There is enough mental space if you stretch your imagination just a little, to see the possibility of a common ground upon which to argue stark economic inequality without simultaneously trivializing the real and dangerous trope of ethnic mobilization that threatens the imagined community that is Kenya. There’s like another smart sentence to bolster this argument but it’s pointless for now.
Speaking of stretching imagination; similar to the idea of a class segmented Kenya without tribal allegiances, is the idea of benevolent Kenyans who want the best for everyone, if only their politicians were not so deviant and corrupt. Television anointed analysts will preach to a jaded choir of converts that, you see, deep down, we all like each other. Very much actually. You see, I am also concerned that this law is not implemented to achieve that ideal. I think our leaders need to do something…I think it is incumbent upon the government to bla bla bla. Better yet, we are going to unite! Together, against this corrupt breed of politicians! You know what, you should vote them out in the next election if they don’t do it, yeah, the citizen is supreme! Yes. Yes. Yes! You know, because we’re so tired, we should all wake up one morning and start talking on how to overthrow this political system with a dignified, acceptable, moral, polite, non-violent utopia for which you and I are the leaders…I don’t exactly know how it will be run but that’s irrelevant, isn’t it? we are supreme! We can do it! Down with the politicians! Power to the people!
Listen to these imbeciles. Just listen! Isn’t it deafening, the silence with which their brains move as they fail to think?
There is a political class, there is also an economically advantaged class in Kenya. Both utilize the tribal identity of witting Kenyans to cement their socioeconomic place. The idea that Kenyans at once do not want tribalism while they participate in it every single day is an insult to any Kenyan who can think; to their agency, logical decision making and complicity in the affairs of the country. Kenyans who can think long enough to know that whatever citizen uprising you are planning will eventually bargain with an amoral political process for its existence, and fail miserably. In the off chance that you do take down a regime, both the path there and the aftermath will churn your stomach.
You know why? Because the Kenyans you pretend to love, die on the streets in the hands of a political process you claim so much to detest. What was the last thing you did about it? You tweeted.