My Response to Objections to My Open Letter to the President Regarding Tribalism

26 Jul

The following is my response to a netter who raised some objections to my Open Letter to the President urging him to take the lead in ending tribalism by urging our brothers and sisters from Central to vote for candidates other than their “own.”

My response:

On your first point about Kibaki not himself being a believer in ending tribalism, we are not necessarily in disagreement; this is part reason why I, in fact, wrote to him about this, if anything to try and see if, in these waning days of his presidency, he can perhaps make amends, or try to as a patriotic Kenyan.

You can therefore say mine is a call to Kibaki’s patriotism to do the right thing, which we can all agree transcends tribalism.

I noted in my letter that I know this is a tall order for him and have elsewhere said old habits die hard, but I am an optimistic person by nature and am therefore optimistic he will indulge me, at least part of my request.

Although most people who follow my blog know who I support, I did not ask Kibaki in my letter to endorse or “anoint” my candidate; I merely urged him to make sure (out of lack of better language to express what I mean) that the next president is a person who is not only qualified and fit to be president, but more importantly he or she must be one who must unite, not divide the country.

I then suggested to him that, given those who have declared their candidacy, there is only one who fits the bill (referring to my candidate of choice) but for all I know, Kibaki could conclude it’s someone else and that’s fine, as long as it’s not someone from his backyard, which is one of my other point that I am glad you partially agree with, namely, this habit of voting one’s “own” must be shunned.

Talking about this, there is nothing unconstitutional in my suggestion that Kibaki should tell our brothers and sisters from Central to give us a break from yet another Kikuyu president—at least for this and even the next circle.

I am not urging Kibaki to ban or otherwise prevent anyone from Kikuyuland from vying for the presidency; I am just telling him let them vie but let him encourage the good people from the region not to vote for them just because they are Kikuyu but instead encourage them to spread their love and vote for “outsiders.”

In other words, let Kibaki use his presidential pulpit to drill home the message we must end the habit of voting for “our own” and yes, I include in that every other tribe in Kenya that does so but he is from the House of Mumbi and I don’t know a single person who can better effect that message there at this time in our history other than Kibaki himself.

I am fairly confident if he does so, tribalism will be dealt a major, if not fetal blow not just in Central but elsewhere in the country.

This is the right thing to do, in my view and no tortured reading of the constitution could find this noble gesture a contravention of it in any way.

Also, please note there is a huge difference between what I am proposing and what Moi attempted to do: Moi was trying to force down our throats a clearly unqualified person tupende tusipende; I am urging Kibaki to tell our brothers and sisters from Central to spread their love and vote for candidates other than their own as a way of breaking from the choke-hold of tribalism and thus pave the way for a new Kenya where tribalism is not a determinative factor in presidential elections.

I urge other communities to do the same thing.

BTW, this does not mean the communities must vote willy nilly or regardless of the “outsider’s fitness to be president; far from it.

It is perfectly okay for any community to vote 100% for their own, if they deem others running not qualified or fit to be president.

The distinction is, they cannot base that conclusion on tribalism.

An example: If only Martha Karua and 10 buffoons are running for president, I am perfectly okay for all Kikuyus to vote for her and would expect all other Kenyans to vote for her under these circumstances, notwithstanding my position we deserve a break from yet another Kikuyu president.

In other words, tribalism would not be a factor in this sense and in fact, a scenario like this would force people to think outside ukabila box, which is what I am urging.

As for amending the constitution to require, or prohibit, in this case, back to back presidencies from the same community, this would not work, as you correctly point out as well and neither is it necessary.

Once people are educated and informed enough to understand and accept that we cannot just vote for a presidential candidate simply because he or she is our “own,” this issue will take care of itself.

I disagree with you Daktari that all of the current aspirants for the presidency are incapable of bringing about the unity and change in governance we all desire.

Brace yourself please….one of them certainly can and that is Raila.

Peace, Love and Unity

Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Politics


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