It is sad to watch Kenya descend into tribal war.

Essentially it is about one man of one tribe stealing an election…which of course will allow him to distribute all the perks of the government jobs to those of his tribes, not the other tribes.

If you know your US history, this is why Garfield was assasinated, and the civil service examination started for hiring.

But the opposition had in place his people to kill the others, encouraging hatred like “they stole our land” in the poor, who don’t know better.

What’s missing in this and other tribal conflicts is the understanding of tribal ties, and the problem that socialism with it’s bureaurocracy of big government (that mimics the big brother will care for you ideas of tribal government)…actually encourages corruption and keeping out “The Other”.

The answer is found in Kenya’s growing middle class, and thriving economy.

James Shikwati compares the tribal violence to a Godzilla egg, where the monster of tribalism which was thought dead years ago suddenly reappears…From his editorial in the African Executive:

What started as a legitimate quest to ensure fairness in the just concluded presidential elections in Kenya has unleashed a brutal Godzilla… Managers are forced to use ethnicity to assign duties. Sales and Marketing teams are being recalled and redeployed to areas they can be safe – tribal homes! While some of us have been working hard to build a United Africa; a few people seem hell-bend to reintroduce ethnic kingdoms and destroy Kenya….Listening to Radio FM stations; one is left wondering whether they are keen on expunging the word justice from the dictionary. If Kenyan FM stations are not offering sedatives to burry the problem under the carpet; they are busy inciting ethnicity….How can Kenyans heal when every other day, the two political warring factions drive nails deep into the wounds they unleashed upon the nation on December 30 2007?

They are the hope of the future. but ignored by the west who prefers to see Africans as a poor person needing their help, or as ignorant.

Alas, when the Pope moans about globalism, he isn’t helping the matter: he’s stuck in the middle ages (which is why Calvin and Luther were the ones who made Europe modern….and why the growing Protestant middle class may break the cycle of helpless poverty in Latin America and the Philippines…maybe the Pope needs to talk to Michael Novak…).

Alas, mouthing words of peace may not be the answer:

With their heads in the sand, the middle class – if not urging for prayer for peace, concerts for peace, they are fundraising to erect billboards for peace at every residential area entrance! Nairobi hinterland is burning; tribal passions are being whipped up by the day. The middle class is busy checking in the dictionary for high sounding moralistic words while privately urging on their fellows to protect the supremacy of their tribes.

The Godzilla and its eggs must be destroyed, they must not hatch! It’s not going to be easy, but each one of us must re-examine our sense of humanity and the future of the Kenyan republic. Brutish force without power will not bring peace in Kenya, neither will power without legal force.

Ah, but that is the paradox. who will keep this peace? Who will encourage nationhood? For if Socialism encourages voting by tribal blocks to keep the power (and jobs and money) for your own tribe, so too “democracy” in such countries ends up as one tribe, one party, not parties according to philosophy but according to blood.

Kenya is starting to have tribal war, but it can be stopped. But what is needed is the growing middle class to take over the government. If this happens, Kenya could copy the successes of the Asian tigers.

Because the dirty little secret about Africa is that when governments remain in the corrupt tribal mold, their talent (like talent here in the Philippines) often prefer to move overseas where they can use their talent to be prosperous.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes on African matters at Makaipa blog and cross posted this there and at Podkayne Blog.
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