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TRIBALISM - The Calamity Killing Tana River County

Tana River like many other counties in Kenya is lagging behind in development. It's over six years of devolution and our noble County is married by underdevelopment, violence and high level of corruption.

Among so many other reasons for these problems is tribalism. Tribalism was there even before devolution but it has risen to horrifying level after devolution. I would argue confidently argue that tribalism is one of the reasons rarely discussed to be the cause of many problems facing this great county.

Most people blame poor leadership as the main cause of underdevelopment but we have to ask ourselves how do we elect people with poor leadership skills? The answer is obvious, tribalism has made us elect them nothing else! During voting periods we want to elect "mtu wetu" so that he can employ "watu wetu" failure to which we call them bad leaders. The question is, what criteria did we employ to find out if they are good leaders in the first place? As long as "ni wetu" then he is a good leader. Wait, even the reader of this article has voted on basis of tribal grounds me included. Am I lying?

But how is a tribalism the cause? Well, let us use the Dayate issue for instance. I want it to be the base of my argument. The Dayate people are against the plan citing among other reasons that it is a plan to rob off their legally owned land to give it to "rivals" while the Hola guys are arguing that it is a way of taking developments to "rivals" some even complain saying that it will hinder the development of Hola Town. All these arguments and complains are originating from the "sisi" and "wao" idea - Tribalism. Wait a little, I bet subtracting tribalism from this equation would have seen little or no resistance at all to this idea. I mean if Tana people could have been people of the same tribe there would have been very few complains. See, how many people would be against shifting the county headquarters to Boji?

It's tribalism that has made us constantly electing incompetent leaders, it's tribalism that has made us suffer because of corruption, it's tribalism that led to the rise of the famous Tana-Delta tribal clashes, it is tribalism that has made us see brothers as enemies even when we laugh,live and work together. Name them…..

When you walk in towns and villages you will hear phrases like "Serikali ya vikoi" and "Serikali ya maembe" referring to previous regime and current regime respectively. This just shows how strong tribalism is in our heads.

I remember I was once in a whatsApp group belonging to one of the local radio stations but I had to leave the group because of the constant quarrels and misunderstanding coming up amongst members of the group because of their differences arising from their tribal point of view.

It's only after fighting tribalism that we shall see and enjoy the fruits of devolution otherwise we will forever blame poor leadership and other factors for our lack of progress.

My Advice and Opinion
You are a Wardei, he is an Orma and I am a Pokomo. Godhana is the governor, Juma Wario is the senator. You are poor, am also poor. Both of them are wealthy and call one another brother and every time they meet, they hug. Me and you have one thing in common, poverty. The fact that I come from the governor's tribe does not make me any better than you neither does the fact that your tribesman is not the governor makes you worse than me. We all have to struggle to survive. That day we start thinking beyond our tribes, we shall make this county a better place and bring the development we aspire. We shall destroy the room that belongs to "mtu wetu". It starts with me and you. It's our time to start hugging. We shall wander in the wilderness until we discover an interest bigger than tribe.