Africa’s Ethnicity and Leadership

Dear Wambua,in my life, I have realized the power of writing letters because it gives a view point and the recipient has a right of reply which makes clarity in viewpoints,I have decided to do this since you are into regional commentary and why not start with my second country which is Kenya.Do I have a bias certainly but I am declaring it so here we go. I have zeroed on Kenya, I believe that every African country has the same Issues.

“In away, we can say that in Africa, the first major contributor to the politics of ethnicity were the first generation of African leaders.Yes, we have had some heroic leaders in the continent with visions of a united and prosperous Africa; but Africa has had more than its fair share of mediocre leaders who were presented with historic opportunities to unite our people but instead chose to serve their individual interests and used ethnicity and tribalism for their selfish agenda. It is a great shame for our continent.What happened in Kenya is that by 1966, only three short years after independence, the country was already divided in two camps. The nationalist camp that wanted more equitable distribution of resources was pushed out of government and soon even their opposition party Kenya People’s Union (K.P.U.) was outlawed and leaders including some who had been detained with Kenyatta during the colonial era, were arrested and detained without trial for many years.Tribalism had become a form of undeclared state religion and things like tribal oathing became common practice. The instruments of the state had been hijacked by tribal interests and by 1982, legislation was enacted to make Kenya a one party state.The interesting thing is that just like during colonialism, again it is state repression in the 1980s and 1990s that brought the communities in Kenya together. As our jails and detention centres were getting filled with Kenyans from all nationalities, people began to realize they had to fight as a nation not as tribes to achieve positive change for the country.Once again we saw the emergence of national anti-government movements like the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD) whose agenda was to salvage the country from one man dictatorship.- Raila Amolo Odinga, “What Role Does Ethnicity Play in Africa’s Elective Politics?”

I was team Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) because I believe it was in good faith and having read the report, I thought that,it was a mature way forward for Kenya and the proposals were going to strengthen accountability and reduce on the cronyism and ethnocracy which is Kenya’s problem.I believe that you know Wanjiru Kihika and his #TribelessKenyans.I read the judgement,’null and void’ and I agree that the elements of Participatory Democracy were not engrained. That written, let me hear from you. Wikendi njema

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