A nation with the largest number of ethnic groups, tribes, religions, races and nationalities is the United States of America. There is no doubt about this. However, it is important to understand that even USA has had its share of the bitter pill, the American civil war in 1776. It was the leadership at the time, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln and many others that managed to give America the shape it has today. Another personality that should not be forgotten is Francoise Marie Aroupe’ that nicked himself Voltaire. Voltaire, in the 18th Century managed to make France what it is today. He rebuked idolatry, superstitions and primitive thinking. He promoted life of reasoning, enlightenment and dialogue in France. He appreciated the differences and also recognized the role of religion in cementing the society by seeing the common unit, business that brings members of a pluralistic society together.
The Republic of Kenya is hosting on 42+ ethnic groups but very much divided. There is no tolerance and politicians use this weakness to reap fortune. Kenyans were not to fight in 2007/8 had it not been ethnic based politics that had been perpetuated since the independence. Let truth be told, social justice has never been addressed properly. Now that Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat, GG Kariuki, Nicholas Biwott, and many others have died, the TJRC report that has been highlighted by the opposition leadership should also die a natural death. But this is not the solution for toleration and better progress of nation building. In one way or the other Kenya’s leadership must find another way of reconciling and uniting the population.
The Socialist Republic of Tanzania has many more tribes than Kenya. Such ethnic boundaries were demolished by one person, Mwalimu Julius Kabarage Nyerere in his ujamaa philosophy. He had seen a monster in the ethnic politics. Today, Tanzanians are knitted in an ujamaa ideology in which each person is “Ndugu”. Even the President is not glorified as a small god but ndugu so and so. Kenya, under Jomo Kenyatta highlighted divide and rule politics and the nation was divided. Such raptures in the Kenya’s politics has shifted the public opinion from ideas, issues and problems affecting the common man to personalities. Campaigns are full of name calling and ethnic animosity. This trend has to change.
Toleration must follow justice, truth and reconciliation. Kenyans know their history and they can tell what went wrong. Unless this is not addressed adequately, with or without, certain personalities, it will be difficult to achieve solid nation rallied around ideas, issues, and strategic national policies. The constitution of 2010 shifted the power to the people but without educating the people to understand that power, then it is just good in the letter of law. Civic education is critical and politicians must pioneer it.