When I look at our people, sometimes, I get to the conclusion that we hate each other. Sometimes, it is not as bad as that, but the notion that is clear in my mind is that as a nation, we do not love each other.
For example, when a typical ‘mwananchi’ goes into a restaurant, he receives the normal below standards service that we have grown accustomed to. However, when a foreigner with other than black skin goes into the same restaurant, the priorities of the waiters and even the manager shifts toward this new customer and services suddenly seem to be fast and reliable quality services.
The above example is not confined to ‘the whites’ only. The hospitality seems to be extended toward our fellow African brothers who come to see our country with their ‘new’ accents.
The reasoning behind this favouritism toward outsiders has eluded my thoughts. I can, however, point a judging finger toward one of the largest problems facing our nation, i.e. money.
Sadly, as a people, we love money and the sight or sound of foreigners seems to translate into money. The notion that a foreigner from the far lands has money and is willing to spend it on boosting our economy is strong. As a result, I think, we instantly improve services in a dismal attempt to please them.
Just as the men of old said every rose has its thorn, I like to look at it from the perspective of every thorn has its rose as well. I believe that every scenario must have a flip side. Even in the situation above, Kenyans are not always against each other. At least, they are never that individualistic. When posed by particular threats, the Kenyan mind quickly retires into the tribal state. Aaah! And what is this state?
The tribal state is one of the few states that a Kenyan seems to show a preference to his own kin. This is where one shows preferences only for his fellow tribesmen leaving out other tribes. It is not a true show of togetherness but at least it shows that we are capable of it.
A good example of this was during the post-election violence. It was during then that 90% of the population fell back to its tribal lands and strongholds as the country feel into disarray similar to the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Another good more recent example is that of a new tribe that is cropping up. It is a paradoxical tribe as it unites members of the different tribes yet seems to create a bigger divide than any other tribe has done so far. I call this tribe, the M-Pigz. Yes, this is a new tribe formed by our dear politicians and united by greed. It breaks the borders of the former tribal blocks yet has succeeded in forming the largest divide between themselves and the common man i.e. the mwananchi.
In my earlier example, our new tribe, the M-Pigz, have shown a close unity especially in recent times. They have shown that they deserve more money than a normal mwananchi as they are more important. And even, seeing as their deputy president is now under the microscope of the ICC, having quickly followed him there in support of some kind. Now, what support they will be providing, I cannot fathom. As far as the situation is concerned, our beloved Deputy needs legal advice of which he has. Why the M-Pigz followed therefore escapes me. They, however, prove the point to be made that Kenyans do have the ability to be united and love each other.
In conclusion, we live in a crazy state where paradoxes are just but our way of life. The Kenyan paradox on our trust and unity is just but among them. But I believe we as a nation can turn this around. We do have the ability to do so as shown in our tribal state. However, we need pull up our socks and enjoy being Kenyan.
Raymond Kibowen (19)