I am a child of two heritages. Of Luhyas on my father’s side and of Kamba’s, on my mother’s side. This has been both a blessing and a curse depending on the political temperature of the country.
However, I have come to appreciate my heritage as unique and one that gives me a deep understanding of who I am, what Kenya is all about and why we face the challenges that we do.
Life has been interesting. The learning curve has been painful, to say the least. Learning my father’s tongue during the 2017 campaign period made me realize that indeed this country had lost its moral compass to that what matters, to that, which defines who we are, to that, that unites us together.
In my social foundation’s law lessons, the law becomes law based on what our customs, traditions, daily habits are. They define the average of us in character, behavior and draw the needed boundaries in our engagement. As those in charge of us pass them into laws that govern us and these are passed down from generation to generation.
Kenya, as I have come to realize with a heart so broken, is that it’s a country of two nations. Two nations that are fighting for its eternal soul, two nations that are fighting for its resources, for its justice, for its fairness, for its equality and above all, its equity.
Kenya is a country of two nations with a people so lost, so gullible, so intolerant, so easy to manipulate and embezzle from, so overworked, underpaid, overtaxed and with a leadership so selfish that they only see how far their own asses go.
We are a country of two nations because the basic form of humanity and the essence of engagement has been thrown to the dogs. We have no respect for each other. Insults, thievery, and injustice define our daily engagements as citizens. We call each other names. Some tribes are more entitled than others.
Some tribes control over 80 percent of the government resources and the most painful thing is that there is nothing that can be done about it. We insult other tribes how they are only good at being cooks and watchmen, how others are good at making akala and screwing around. How others are good at eating fish and sex only. These forms of stereotypes have pushed us to the brink of splitting this country to a nation of two.
Injustice is the order of the day. From electoral fraud to national resources to police brutality to corruption, Kenya is not a country for the poor or the weak for the laws are designed specifically for the poor, weak and voiceless.
Our laws, meant to create the much-needed balance have turned into weapons by those who are in charge of us to ensure we don’t complain at all. Intellectual hypocrisy is the order of the day. The church is now possessed by the devil himself. We have forgotten who God is.
The last couple of years has taught me a lot. I have come to appreciate the culture of my people, those of my wife’s people, those of my friend’s people. The diversity is amazing, if only we could wake up and see. We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all tribes and all cultures are distinct & individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don’t share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive. I will not blind myself and say that my Kikuyu brother is not different from me. I will not blind myself and say that my Luo sister is not different from me. But my Nandi brother is he as much as I am me. But my Kisii sister is she as much as I am me.
I am learning to speak to everyone in the same way, whether he or she is the garbage man/woman or the president of the university or the president of the country. For this is the best way to foster unity & redefine the rules of engagement. The fact that we don’t respect one another is the core problem of why we can sit together and find solutions to our diverse problems.
When a Kikuyu leader insults Raila Odinga, it’s just not about Raila but about the people who support him and adore him and cheer him on. When a Luhya leader insults a Kalenjin leader, it’s not about the Kalenjin leader but about the people who support him. This lack of respect has seen us ignore all the issues that affect us because of our pride, broke egos and stupid sycophancy to a level where we talking of splitting into two countries based on the Equator line. Such a sad time to be alive in Kenya I tell you.
Unity of a country – my definition- is built on four things. Respect and trust. Justice and fairness. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, the country will crumble. If you lack justice or fairness, the country will burn.
Hermann Hesse, Narcissus, and Goldmund put it so well in his quote on respecting one another for the well-being of a country. He said, ‘…. We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.” As a people of Kenya, we have failed completely to head this ageless quote and that is why we are where we are.
When a criminal gang hides under the umbrella of a business community, with the blessings of the government to purposely hate on one man, what does that tell you as a country? It breaks my heart when as a country we endorse such with our silence, yet we crying for better, for justice, for fairness, then who shall rescue us?
When laws of the country, that define the nature of our engagement together as Kenyans are ignored and used to wipe our asses after we visit a pit latrine with a bad stomach because of food is eaten with stolen money, how do we exist? Aren’t we descending into anarchy? When those charged to uphold the law, protect the weak, defend the weak, then what next?
Hunter S. Thompson put our Kenyan context into his famous quote when he said, ..We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.” If the police cannot honor the very own they are meant to uphold, what right do we have to obey the same? If the government is the first to disrespect the laws and use the same against the same people who put them there, then what next?
It’s okay to disagree with the thoughts or opinions expressed by other people. That doesn’t give you or me the right to deny any sense they might make. Nor does it give you or me a right to accuse someone of poorly expressing their beliefs just because you don’t like what they are saying. We must learn to recognize good opinions when we hear it, even if it means overcoming your pride and opening your mind beyond what is comfortable.
The seam that holds us together as a country is torn and has been burnt at the altar that was used to sodomize our constitution without due regard to what is right or morally correct. As a country, we have gone to the dogs because our leaders are the epitome of our worst characters. Because our leaders are the proponents of that which is the worst amongst us. Because our leaders preach water and drink busaa in the middle of the night naked as they defecate on the Constitution.
We are at the crossroads of deciding the future of this broken country and if we continue to disrespect each other and propagate injustice all over, then the reality of a country with two nations will be real and our kids will suffer the consequences of our cowardice. We must respect one another. We must push for justice for our neighbors. We must be fair in our dealings. We must have equity in our resources. Nothing short of this.