What is the difference 

Between this and ancestor worship? 

I keep saying I find religious people a strange lot, especially when they are of African descent. They look down upon their traditional beliefs and then in the name of Christianity do and believe in absurdities for example that a man swallowed a fish whole and vomited the fish after 3 days 400 miles away, how ridiculous! 

Tribalism or identity politics

In his book, History of the Luo, Bethwell Ogot notes that ethnic groups and boundaries only make sense in relational terms, as a result of social interaction rather than isolation. Ethnic boundaries are not sustained because of traditional cultural differences, but because of political differences. Ethnicity is therefore, according to him, a political process by which people seek to form groups and differentiate one set of people from another, by appealing to the idea of ineluctable cultural difference.

In writing about tribalism, my friend Ngare, sees it as a tumor that must be removed. But I think he is being myopic. It is unfortunate that he and many others lost their homes after the 2007 elections. To call the violence tribal is to rewrite history. It is an attempt to change narratives to prove a particular end. One would expect a journalist with a national outreach to at least be factual. The violence after that bungled election was as a result of perceived and real injustices and found, in my view, a bungled election as a way to manifest itself. It is unfortunate that 10 years later, the issues have not been addressed and it is business as usual. And while my friend has an issue with a Luhya community meeting, he fails to mention that the current government is in place because of tribal associations.

In a country where successive regimes continue to marginalize areas deemed to be pro opposition and where appointments to government jobs are on the basis of one’s names, it boggles the mind how tribal alliances can be put to an end.

His other mistake is to look at history with a very dim lens. This country is a marriage of different nationalities: Luo nation, Kikuyu nation, Kalenjin, Swahili, Luhya, Maasai and many more. All these nations had their way of governance, and leadership systems. It is a mistake to think the British found us unruly and disorganized and helped us with their system. No, they didn’t and in many occasions, they adopted a divide and rule system, a system that the successive regimes have employed with great benefit. While you almost want to applaud those Luhyas who spoke against the meeting or did not attend, I consider them fools and pawns in a struggle for dominance. If anything, they should be whipped by their people. The colonial administrators forced a marriage between us, a marriage that for all intents, has not worked. Agents of change must begin by asking how can a forced marriage be made to work amidst perceived and real marginalization, nepotism, favouritism and so on. The problem, Ngare, is not tribal chiefs. That is the least of our problems. We have bigger problems such as having criminals in government. That is where you should start.

My other friend GC, wrote,

The reason why I’ve written so much about ideologies lately on this blog is because of identity politics and how dangerous I believe it to be. I think this is another direct result of that.

And I disagree with his analysis. it is not identity politics that is the culprit, no, it is years of oppression based on perceived or real differences that finds expression in such acts of violence.

He goes on to write

We put people into racial and gender categories instead of treating them like individuals and then we teach some of those categories that other groups are oppressing them. We even teach people that some groups are incapable of being racist, when that (power + prejudice = racism) clearly isn’t true.

Does this mean that there is no history of oppression? That however, people have just been taught about it lately? Maybe the 1st Nations in Canada, Native Americans or the Australian Aborigines  have only late found a benevolent teacher who has told them they are being oppressed. That before this, they as a group had no such knowledge. Or maybe I am wrong about all this. I have heard it said that a white person has no business in telling a black about racism. I don’t know to what extent this applies or whether it really is the case.

The culprit in both these cases is not tribalism or identity politics, but perceived and real injustices that have been perpetuated on people who belong to the different groups. To address the issues, we must start by addressing past injustices, working towards equitable societies where the colour of one’s skin or one’s tribe does not decide whether they get a government job or service or even how they are treated by the government operatives. Remember that these injustices are both perceived and real. So let’s focus our energy in creating equitable polities. The problem is not with whether one identifies as Luo or male, far from it.

Or maybe I am wrong in all this, in that case, I would love to be educated.

 

Stories from home

In my village, the dead are revered. If you attended a funeral, even of the village thief, you would think you attended the wrong funeral. Speaker after speaker will tell you how good the late fellow was. I think even his victims would praise his generosity. I don’t know about you, but I have no such allegiance to the dead. I like to call a spade a big spoon and a big spoon a spade.

The dust has now settled on the grave of the late Lucy Kibaki. All the media reports I read after her demise were all glowing in tributes to her. For a moment I thought I was reading about a different person. I am not disagreeing with those who say she was a good grandmother, not at all. I only question a nation that seem to have lost its conscience.

If there is anything I recall about her are tantrums about the first family composition, disagreements with members of her husband’s cabinet or the several allegations of who she slapped here or there. I wish her family well.

Last weekend a man, Jacob Juma, was laid to rest at his home in western Kenya. His death is still clouded in mystery. No one knows who killed him though he had in many occasions named some high ups who wanted to dispatch him to the world of the dead. I hope they are found out. I am disappointed that the press could only refer to him as controversial businessman. This reference is to make the business of covering up the murder an easier task. Anyone with an agenda can easily claim it was a business deal gone bad.

Yesterday the police displayed their brutality on demonstrators. A little background, the constitution grants citizens the right to picket. I think the police didn’t read the document or don’t know of its existence. I am not ruling this out. Sadly a fellow has succumbed to the injuries. What his death has revealed is how divided, along tribal lines, the country is. When all there was to go by was a picture of a cop crushing his head on the ground, a section of the populace felt it served him right. Now that we have name, things are a bit different.

And the pastors are silent. They are silent when money is lost through sleaze. They are silent when the powers that be appoint people based on their surnames instead of merit. They are silent every time you expect them to speak, as Hosea, spoke. No, they can’t stand atheism. That is the biggest affront to the nation that they can’t stand.

As a prophet of the golden boot, I think things will get only worse. There will be more violence. The police, a group that isn’t known for their intelligence, will kill or maim more people and at the end, we will have the same crooks in places of influence.

Have a pleasant week everyone.

In defence of freedom of speech

A columnist in one of our dailies has written an article that, would be, for any government be seen as a threat. What it has resulted in is idjits on twitter calling for the arrest of the journalist. Apart from being ignorant assholes, they remind me of the fact that governments; all of them, secular or religious fear ideas and their representatives than thieves.
I call these Kenyans idiots because they have put in a government that has excelled in corruption, land grabbing, stifling of free speech and any criticism of the government is reduced to tribal vendetta, what fools!
Now, it is pretense to claim we are a unified nation when every dispute, intellectual or otherwise gets resolved along tribal considerations.
Do I want secession? Do I want violence? I don’t know but if a case could be made for both, I would listen to their proponents.
This is to remind the idjits calling for Ndii’s arrest to wake up and get their shitty brains from their arses and use it for what it was meant, thinking!