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Everywhere you turn to the discussion about the different tribes that exist in our community and the different traits that each of them posses is continuous.Tribalism in my country has grown deeper than the first cut.Your tribe automatically defines who you are.Your tribe is your brand.Tribalism has affected every sphere of our lives,from the employment sector,to marriages,to even voting.Having to come from a country of 42 tribes this has become intense.

Sometimes deep inside i wish that we all belonged to one tribes that we did not have so many in one country maybe then this is one thing that we would have avoided,but that is just wishful thinking.Tribalism is the disease that is killing us at this point and a cure has to be found but that is not going to be easy,the stereotype that surrounds the different tribes are many.While other countries fight with racism we fight with tribalism.What we went through after the 2007 general election was in-human,the tribe you belong to determined your fate whether you will stay alive or you will be killed.That was a horrible time and so many were left homeless.

Even choosing a marriage partner has become tribalistic,you bring someone home and the issue of which local dialect he speaks could change everything.At the end of the day you need your parents blessing when getting married but that person you want to spend the rest of your life with has to much up to the criteria of your parents and "tribe"tops the list.There are some specific tribes that you do not bring home period.

It pains my heart every time i see people judging one another based on which tribe one belongs to.I did not choose the tribe in which i was born in and my local dialect should not determine who i am.A person's personality and character is what matters,we are all different ,special and unique in our own way.

i just wish people would overlook the whole issue of tribe and become one and make our country better for the future,we have to fight tribalism by all means.I do not know if there are other countries that face this same problem or is it only deep rooted in my country.This is destroying us,even as youths it is hard to get a job because there are jobs that are known to be for a specific tribe and it leaves you wondering what to do next,your academic qualifications do not matter unless you start your own business.How i wish this would end.

As we might be going for elections this year my prayer is that tribalism takes a back seat and we move on.


MaDube's picture

Hey Irene

Your article is very concerning in light of the upcoming elections. What I have noticed is that politicians on our continent will capitalise on ethnicity to polarise society, in the typical divided and rule fashion that they saw during Africa's years under the colonial yoke. It is very sad that communities are used in this way yet in the end it is the same communities that are dumped and left to fend for themselves while the politicians enjoy their positions of power. I pray for Kenya, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and all the other countries facing this kind of problem.

Just an advisory note: Since the trial in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) following the Rwandan genocide where ethnic Hutus killed thousands of Tutsis and Hutus sympathising with Tutsis (which you probably are aware of), the politically correct term to tribes has become "ethnic groups". So instead of referring to tribalism we talk of ethnic strife or ethnic tensions. So your article should have read " Ethnic conflict or ethnic strife no longer a silent killer..... Hope that helps :-)



olutosin's picture


That's our major problem too.

I pray for your peaceful election.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


irene waithaka's picture

dear irene You know the

dear irene
You know the saddest part is we are just around the corner for elections and tribalism will be a score card for the politicians however am of the opinion that the ultimate win is by conducting civil education around the country. The thing is kenyans could easily curb tribalism if there waas the will among politicians coz truth be told they ignite it only when it suits them but otherwise kenyans can live with each other if the proper political environment was sustained. trust me if politically tribalism was elimanated so would it the social aspect.

with regards

irene madara's picture


thanks Madube for the insight.irene i just pray that this year we shall have peaceful elections

micheleweldon's picture

some specifics on the elections?

This is very good and powerful, but can reach an even broader audience if you specify the news angle of the elections. When they are, what ethnic groups/tribes will run against each? Do you have statistics on how many belong to tribes? I would like to read more personal examples from you. Thsi is very good. Thanks for this.

Michele Weldon
Author, Journalist, Northwestern University Medill School Assistant Professor,
Workshop Instructor, Keynoter, Multimedia Expert

irene madara's picture

hey michelle

At the moment we are not sure when the next elections would be it was contemplated between next year march and this year December but it all depends on our president and the prime minister as to when they would dissolve the coalition government but i will keep you up to date with it.Concerning the tribe or ethnic group issues,i would tell you from the last general elections what happened was that different ethnic groups turned against each other.let me try and make it clear for you,for us the country is divided into different regions we now call them counties and you find that a specific county is per-dominant of a particular tribe and different tribes support different political parties,so the last elections if you were from a different tribe that is not from that county it was your life at stake and if you did not support the political party that majority of the people supported.I will keep you updated as we progress further with this issue,thanks a lot keep in touch

mkatubih's picture

This is an observation i have

This is an observation i have also made Irene.It is eating us up.I think also with the division of counties then this will even worsen the situation since if you stay in a certain county and you do not belong to the majority ethnic group you are doomed.Ethnocentrism is really bad and i think with the political affiliations and groups formed its gonna be bad news.Can you imagine the coalition between Uhuru and Ruto??I believe that we also need divine grace.

irene madara's picture

i know

mkatubih i am much afraid of the outcome of the next elections but i pray that our people will be wiser than before we need not shed any more blood we are one and i hope we behave that way,civic education at this point is important,africans need to be liberated politically to look beyond political parties.

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