Op-Ed: Kenya, a Victim of Tribalism


For many who are not aware, Raila Odinga - the main presidential opposition candidate in Kenya did not lose for the first time. He has been a fierce opponent of incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta. His father, Oginga Odinga was also the first vice-president of Kenya who later turned to be a critic of the Jomo Kenyatta regime. The fathers and sons are clearly sworn enemies. The Odingas are of the Luo tribe and the Kenyatta's are of the Kikuyu tribe - two rival tribes in Kenya.

When Mwai Kibaki endorsed Kenyatta Jnr as his successor, Odinga Jnr and other hopefuls were hostile to that decision. This led to the breakaway of coalitions/factions led by Odinga and others. Noting the norm arising from rival politicians one has to notice that this is largely attributed to tribal politics. That is the reason why Kenya has suffered post-election violence in the past. This is evidently affecting Kenya and making civilians to be prone to insecurity due to disputes and allegations by the opposition. This modus operandi of tribal politics is the degradation of the country - not only politically, but also economically.

In a case brought by the opposition the Supreme Court of Kenya has recently declared Kenyatta's presidential victory as null and void amid allegations by Odinga, citing unconstitutional methods. The Supreme Court's annulment is however not satisfactory since observer missions declared the elections to be fair. Also given that the Supreme Court stated that it is still going to make a "reasoned judgement" and ultimately outlining the lacunas which dictate the unconstitutionality of the election. This brings into question the credibility of the judiciary since it has nullified elections prior the final "reasoned judgement", the judiciary has thrown Kenya into a topsy-turvy state. As the custodian and interpreter of law, the judiciary is not supposed to act contrarily by being vague. The people of Kenya and the continent surely needed clarity and not premature judgements without immediate substance.

This has reportedly cost Kenyan taxpayers a whopping $1 billion thus another election might really cost more than that. Tribal politics are now costing Kenyans economically and socially since budget cuts are expected. Experts are suggesting that the cuts might be from the education or health departments. The advancement of Kenyan lives will be affected on the basis of tribal politics.

It seems to be surprising that Odinga never gives up and he is not a newcomer when it comes to running to the judiciary to nullify the Kenyatta administration, as he previously did and lost. One may ask where the obsession to rule stems from, is is greed or for the will of the Kenyan people? Kenyatta later cited that the Supreme Court's ruling is against the will of the Kenyan people. Undeniably it seems to be since the Supreme Court's allegations do not suffice, in such a democracy the question of separation of powers seems to be ignored even though some are citing that the ruling is a sign of democratic maturity.

At the end of the day, Odinga's motive will be questioned on the basis of whether it is for the will of the Kenyan people or his personal gain. All in all the will of the Kenyan people will prevail again within the prescribed 60 days.

Photo cred: https://bigambo.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/tribalism.gif


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