The political environment in Kenya has been and still remains tribal. This has been orchestrated by illiteracy in one hand and fanaticism in the other. Although illiteracy has been waning over the years as more Kenyans enroll in schools, tribal fanaticism has continued to take a strong foothold even amongst the most educated who follow their tribal demigods without fear or favor – and without question. Fanaticism therefore is the perpetrator of tribalism several years after Kenya gained independence as, instead of the educated using their leadership positions to nationalize the illiterate, they find it easy to further brainwash the illiterate into believing that their particular tribes are superior to the rest and if they do not protect their tribe by either retaining or taking over the political power, then they will be endangered as a people.
The obvious place tribal fanaticism by Kenyans manifest itself is in social media. By and large social media tools are used by Kenyans who have acquired some basic post primary education. The most active social media users are those who have attained some college level certificate, diploma and/or degree and thus are expected to be reasonable, rational and holistic in information acquisition and sharing. On the contrary, political comments as seen in several social media outlets reveal skewed political leanings that is easy to define by the now infamous saying, “your name betrays you” – it doesn’t matter whether the leaning is towards the government or towards the mainstream opposition.
The educated who express political interest have learnt to take advantage of Kenya’s tribal gullibility in which they use either their illiteracy or fanaticism to gain political mileage. Since almost every Kenyan foremost identifies as a member of a tribe, politicians campaigning to protect the interests of the tribe easily rhyme with the hearts of the tribesmen and women, as opposed to politicians that would campaign on the merit of protecting the interest of the nation who would be seen as weaklings that can be swayed at will by the ruling class.
If tribalism was a matter of illiteracy alone, Kenyans could have hope that in a few years everyone will be educated as the uneducated ones die off and as every new born takes advantages of programmes such as the free primary education and advancement in technological adoption in a growing economy to shed off ignorance and stupidity. However, since the bulk of tribalism is anchored on fanaticism, which has been defined by Wikipedia as “redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim” and further clarified as displaying “little tolerance for contrary ideas or opinions”, means that eradicating tribalism in Kenya requires an approach that is beyond education, an approach that can de-fanaticize the tribal fanatics – and one such approach would be the promotion of the third political force.
The reason the third force is most suitable tool to deal with or even completely eradicate tribalism in Kenya is its composition. Those who have identified themselves with the third force, some of whom are known by the author at a personal level, have names that are representative of the major communities in Kenya including the Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba, Kalenjin, Maasai, Luhyia and many others in no particular order. Even though Gabriel Oguda recently penned down an article titled Peter Kenneth and his 3RD FORCE pretenders MUST Be CONDEMNED for Abandoning Kenyans at CLOUD 8 to portray the third force as a group of people “too preoccupied defending their objectivity that they cant notice their tribal bigotry showing”, the tribal bigotry that could be showing with third force members is against a particular fact, that neither the government nor the opposition has the willingness to transform Kenya into one unified developed nation.
Gabriel Oguda, in his article linked to above, praises Raila Odinga as the person that will save this country from shrinking and sinking when he writes, “Of the 2013 presidential aspirants, only Raila Odinga has remained standing as he struggles to make himself heard above the noise of organised heckling by those 36 air headed bloggers deriving pay from the people who are looting our economy dry”. However, Oguda fails to deal with facts such as Raila’s liaison with political figures that include Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula, William Ruto, Charity Ngilu, Mutula Kilonzo, and many others who were close allies of former President Moi, people whose names have appeared in high profile corruption cases. Recently, the nation was treated to Raila’s seeming defense of an accused hate monger. When Charity Ngilu was asked to step aside to pave way for investigations on corrupt deals in her ministry, Raila’s close ally Kalonzo Musyoka sympathized with her, sending a message that their own, a Kamba, was being a soft target of the Jubilee government. The composition of Raila’s team therefore, clearly tells us that the team is unsuitable to steer Kenya anywhere; and that’s why the third force is a necessity. Of course Oguda has given clear reasons for the third force members not to trust politicians like Peter Kenneth.
The third political force already exists but in a disorganized format. The force started two to three years before the 2012/2013 general elections when speculations that Kalonzo Musyoka would team up with Musalia Mudavadi to give the two horses, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, a run for their money. But after Mudavadi broke ranks with ODM to form his own political outfit and later temporarily team up with Uhuru Kenyatta, forcing Raila to court Kalonzo and Moses Wetangula to form CORD, that third forced waned into oblivion. As the campaigns heightened, the political outfit formed by Peter Kenneth together with Raphael Tuju were referred to as a third force that was thought would have an impact on the outcome of the general elections, especially given the obvious positive following and comments the outfit was receiving on social media, but the ballot proved that this new third force was nothing but a smoke – a smoke that dispersed in the firmament once the general elections were concluded.
Roughly a year after the general elections, Kenyans especially those who voted the current Government started doubting whether Jubilee has the interest to deliver its campaign promises. With increased terror attacks and the inability of the government to deal with the terrorists, sometimes ignoring warnings in form of travel advisory or even refusing to act on intelligence gathered by the government’s own NIS, some supporters of Jubilee became more and more confused. At this time they started to silently wish that there was a better outfit that could save Kenya from the insecurity issues the country was facing. This wish grew stronger when the country got subjected to continued corruption scandals, poor economic policies, and unplanned borrowing that has seen Jubilee government become unable to perform basic functions like pay wages and salaries to civil servants.
But the outfit to save Kenya from the obvious economic meltdown, according to all third force subscribers, is not CORD nor any of the current opposition parties. CORD, they argue, is not any better given the crop of politicians that form the outfit most of whom have been in government for years yet have nothing to show for the several years they have been in leadership except for their individual acquired wealth. In addition, CORD doesn’t appear to offer any alternative and practical solutions to the problems that is facing the country. These facts about CORD have made many Kenyans that were affiliated with CORD to join the aggrieved Jubilee supporters into the third force movement. Several other Kenyans that were politically lukewarm are also joining the third force movement to fight for better politics defined by concrete issues and ideologies away from tribalism and greed.
The call for the formation of a third force that can drive away Kenyans from tribalism started as early as mid 2014 when in August 1st 2014 Richrad Oduor wrote in The Star (reposted by AllAfrica) encouraging Kenyans to opt for the third force as a means for steering the country forward. Richrad’s main point of argument was that both Jubilee and CORD are extremist political parties that “may not be the solution for sustainable peace and stability”. “In fact”, he wrote, “[the two parties may] create opportunities for violence and extremism”. He further defined the two outfits as “tribal alliances with self-serving tribal kings at the apex” and called for the need to organise “a radical third force” composed of “young Kenyans who are unblemished by the political machinations of the past.”
Silently in social media this force started taking shape and a number of organizations have sprung up with different names and leadership. One such group calls itself THE THIRD FORCE and is organizing a procession along Haile-Selasie, Harambee and Moi Avenues that will take place on Tuesday 11th November 2015. The procession will start with a gathering at Uhuru Park in order to put pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to look into the allegations against Devolution and Planning CS Ms Ann Waiguru.
Two things are clear about the third force – 1. They are fringe groups that ought to come together under one strong leadership and 2. They need to have a strong leadership able to stand against government and opposition forces that will fight them by all means to the teeth.