Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.
Silver Spring, MD
H.E. Emilio Mwai Kibaki, C.G.H, M.P,
President of the Republic of Kenya
Re: Open Letter About Ending Tribalism In Kenya
Dear Mr. President:
You have served and continue to serve our country well, despite what happened during and after the disputed elections of 2007.
Indeed, in a previous communication to Your Excellency, I in behalf of other Kenyans acknowledged that you have done good, in redeeming your legacy and that the only thing left to seal it, is for you to ensure peaceful handover of the presidency to your successor, preceded by a period of peaceful campaigning and elections.
Your Excellency, the legacy you will leave behind from your illustrious career as an academician, cabinet minister, politician, father and now president of our country is beyond what I can describe within the scope of this letter.
Suffice to say, Your Excellency, that your name and that of the Right Hon. Prime Minister Raila Odinga, will be forever associated with leading the fight for, and ultimately ensuring passage of the new constitution, which we are already witnessing its impact and are enjoying some of its benefits that have eluded us, as a nation for decades, with an expectation for more.
With the appointment of the new Chief Justice and the rest of the justices of the Supreme Court having been accomplished under the new constitution—and to the satisfaction of all Kenyans, we are confident that further and necessary judicial reforms are also underway.
We are also equally confident that efforts to undermine implementation of the rest of the constitution shall not prevail and that therefore it’s only a matter of time for Kenyans to enjoy all the benefits of the new constitution.
It is accordingly our expectation, Your Excellency that, with the full implementation of the new constitution and execution of the concomitant judicial and political reforms, we as a nation shall finally be able to deal a serious, if not fetal, blow to poor governance, corruption, and impunity.
That’ll be all good but will not be everything.
We have a much more urgent and equally significant malady that we must cure ahead of the next general elections, and that is, tribalism.
This, Your Excellency, is the reason I am writing to you.
When we say Your Excellency needs to ensure peaceful handover of power to your successor, as well as ensure a preceding period of peaceful campaigning and elections, we are also implicitly asking Your Excellency, and now openly urge you to use your power and influence to make sure that we not only have free and fair elections in 2012 but, equally importantly, you must ensure that tribalism is crushed as the determinative factor in electing our leaders, especially at the presidential level.
If you accomplish this, Your Excellency, namely, if you play a key role in ending tribalism as a major determinative factor in presidential elections, Your Excellency would not only have presided over the changing of Kenya from the old to the new, with passage of the new constitution, you would have also planted a seed that would germinate to an even more beautiful Kenya where our affairs are governed not by tribe and negative ethnicity, but by who we are as Kenyans.
As Kenyans, we have for years and decades had a reputation throughout much of the world as a peace loving people.
Few, if any, would disagree, even in spite of 2008 that we are not incapable of living in peace and harmony with one another, divided only by the artificial boundaries necessary for administrative functions of the government.
We are quite capable of doing this, Your Excellency, and its my belief an opportunity presents itself for Your Excellency to set the stage in moving our country in that direction and create an atmosphere of improved ethnic relations upon which your successor can build and take to an even higher level, starting with the elimination of tribalism as a determinative factor in presidential elections.
This, namely, ending tribalism, Your Excellency, ought to be and must be your most significant and everlasting gift you can give our country, which in turn will result in leaving a legacy for you beyond any other, grand as each shall be.
Your Excellency, the question should not be whether you ought to play a key role in ending tribalism in Kenya, rather, the question should be, what role should you play in ending this debilitating disease of tribalism?
Your Excellency, let me suggest that merely urging Kenyans to end tribalism will not do because this has been tried and urged by every known leader since we can remember, but all to no avail.
Part of that is because the very leaders who call for an end to tribalism in the day, are often busy practicing or scheming to practice it at night.
Some, especially a number of those interested in succeeding you, Your Excellency, have made it known their ticket to State House is perfecting tribalism and they are openly pursuing this as their sole strategy, even to this day and, unless something is done to stop them, it shall be their sole strategy to the end.
Your Excellency, you must stop them in their tracks with this heinous scheme for success of their strategy, shall be further perpetuation of tribalism.
Tumechoka na mambo ya ukabila, Mzee.
We must end tribalism, and this is the ideal time to do so, Your Excellency.
The way I see it, Your Excellency, there are a number of things you can do to lead in this effort to defeat tribalism based schemes to succeed you and therefore cleanse our nation of this debilitating disease of tribalism in Kenya and these are:
First, and I say this with all due respect, Your Excellency, it is incumbent upon you, as the president of our nation, to inform our brothers and sisters from Central that, with 42 tribes in Kenya, and having had Your Excellency and our first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta elected from Central to lead our country, let our brothers and sisters from the area show love and unity with other Kenyans and vote for someone other than their own this time around.
Doing so, Your Excellency, will not be the end of Central as some might seriously believe; rather, it would be the beginning of a new and fresh relations between our brothers and sisters from Central and the rest of the country, the past notwithstanding.
I fully realize this is a tall order, Your Excellency, and that most will advise against Your Excellency undertaking such earthshaking action but this is what greatness in leadership demands and more so, unless and until our brothers and sisters from Central are made to understand and accept the altruism that all Kenyans are equal and that no one tribe or ethnic group should be deemed the preferred one over the others, we shall continue to struggle with the issue of tribalism in Kenya until such a time as this altruism is significantly accepted by our brothers and sisters from Central, which shall be a matter of time, as it is.
I say this, Your Excellency, because there are clear indications many from Central have already shaken themselves free of this debilitating disease of tribalism and view issues not from its prism, but progressively as to how best to move our country forward regardless of tribe or ethnicity, which is commendable.
This is a development, Your Excellency must fully and without delay take advantage of and lead in stepping up efforts to maximize its potential.
It’s our belief Your Excellency is in a unique position to so deliver, given where we are as a nation, your history and background.
Second, Your Excellency should reconsider your position reported the other day in the media that you will remain neutral and let those vying to succeed you, battle it out on their own and let Kenyans choose in the end, one among them to succeed you.
Under ordinary circumstances, this would be a very commendable and, indeed, the only position to take as our president.
As things stand relative to the upcoming elections, Your Excellency, these are no ordinary circumstances for both practical and historical reasons that Your Excellency is fully aware, thus the need for Your Excellency to play your hand, if not directly, certainly indirectly to make sure a successor is elected who is not only qualified to take over from you in every respect, but also one who can unite, not divide the country.
Third, if Your Excellency is reluctant or unwilling to actively influence or offer hints as to who your preferred successor should be—and there is really only one candidate who fits the bill, Your Excellency, if one were to assess all the declared candidates objectively, but be as it may be, the least you can do in playing a key role in ending tribalism as a determinative factor in presidential elections, Your Excellency, is to make sure those who wish to exploit tribalism as a means of reaching the State House, do not succeed at all in doing so.
This is something Your Excellency must do not just as our nation’s leader but in your personal capacity as well for I believe Your Excellency would agree, it’s time Kenya moved beyond tribalism and elected our president regardless of what tribe or ethnic group they hail from, as long as they are qualified and are otherwise fit to hold that office.
Abraham Lincoln, the great American president, freed slaves in America in 1863.
Your Excellency should lead in finally freeing Kenya from tribalism in 2012.
This is our prayer and may the grace of God be with you as you ponder these and other heavy issues you must deal with as our president.
Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.