Before we head to the polls, a quick word from MZelo.

In an interview in the View, a show hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, Trevor Noah was asked to give his view on racism. I found his take on Racism to be unique. He compared racism with a disease. A contagious disease that we pass on from one generation to another. We teach it to our children and they teach it to their children and it keeps growing from generation to another.

In that take, we can also see how much tribalism can be likened with racism in such context. Is tribalism a disease too? Do we teach it to our children and pass it from one generation to another? Or does it just come with the boundary and situations?

Nelson Mandela was quoted saying, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of their skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

From this brief quote, we can certainly conclude that tribalism is a disease we were taught by our parents and if we don’t learn better we will teach it to our children. As generations come and go it will take different forms as people pretend to be more accepting of people from specific tribes but only to specific extents. We will be interactive, happy and smiling together but still draw walls and keep others far from reach. We end up teaching others how to draw walls. We show our children and siblings the misfortunes and faults of people from other ethnic groups.

We also teach them stereotypes and they carry this mentality everywhere and whatever they see they relate to the stereotypes they learnt even if is mythical. An example is my dad, he was always a believer that Kikuyus are thieves and love money so he started a business with his Luo friend who ran the business to the ground by stealing from it. Ironical, I know. Plus, people who say that Luos are egomaniacs have surely not met me.

Stereotypes are created to cause drifts among people of different tribes. People can brand them however they want but they are just divisionary and nothing more. Others use culture and rituals as an excuse to keep off people from other tribes, I have even heard people branding other as having devil worshippers like cultures. Even those who don’t follow cultural norms and traditions are subjected to the same hate since they are grouped as one.

Even with the revolutionary world, people walking away from their traditions and cultures, there is still subjection of the same hate and disregard. We always find a way to conjure our hate for other blaming it on their culture, color, and even accent but the truth is a seed was planted in our hearts when we were small. The seed grew and matured into a whole tree. Now we find ourselves hating people from other tribes and cannot find a specific reason why so we just end up blaming it on mediocre reasons just to satisfy our mental struggles of why you hate another.

It is time we end this. It is time we let this disease kill us and die with us. We shouldn’t spread it to the next generation. We should treat tribalism like alcoholism. We shouldn’t shun but we need to accept that we have a problem and seek help. Children learn to love easily – Nelson Mandela. Loving will lead to acceptance and lead to a better Kenya.

In an interview in Seattle Washington, an anonymous person was asked why we hate. She said, “We hate because we are taught to hate, we hate because we are ignorant, we are the product of ignorant people who have been taught an ignorant thing…” In Kenya, this ignorant thing is that there are 42 different tribes. There are no 42 tribes but there is only one Kenya and we are all a part of it as Kenyans.  

As you go to cast your vote tomorrow please  remember: You are not born a bigot, you learn how to become one, and anything you can learn you can surely unlearn.