Tribalism….Kenya on the brink

This is what happened when simple minds and power hungry politicians used bigoted language to incite hatred amongst their own people. What is happening in Kenya has been fomenting for a number of years. It just boiled over after the last elections were rigged. Politicians and their groupies have been silently spreading ethnic and tribal code words in these communities for a number of years….culminating in what is today described by the US under secretary for African affairs as ethnic cleansing.

The tragedy happening in Kenya could have been avoided if Kenyans stood up to ethnic bigots years ago and nip their message of intolerance in the bud. Most bigoted commentators have their facts wrong. They trade in half truths and innuendo to past aspersions on a group of people they happened to hate.

This is one of the reasons why a lot of my countrymen were aghast to read on the front page of the GambiaEcho, a fact free tirade against the Gambia’s largest tribe by Sheriff Samsudeen Sarr. If you read Sam’s piece and have no inclination to Gambian politics and society, you will come away with the feeling that the Mandinkas of the Gambia are just a tribalist lot…bent on dominating their fellow countrymen. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sam Sarr knew this…but he has an agenda all along…and that is to castigate and demonize an entire tribe.

However it is sobering to see how many other Gambians took it upon themselves to counter Sam’s blatant disregard for history and call him out for what he is… a tribal man. Saul Saidykhan’s piece is legendary in this respect. If we let the Samsudeen Sarrs of the world get away with spreading false and insidious messages based on their personal vendettas then we are headed for a rude awakening. The consequences will be deadly. That is the lesson Kenya is teaching Gambians….squash the hatred before it consume your nation in death and anarchy.

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