OPINION: Kenya’s political identity fragmentation if not checked will disintegrate the country.

Former Prime minister Raila Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy president William Ruto at a past event. {PHOTO COURTESY}

In 1985 in Kosovo, Mr. Djordje Martinovic, a Serb, crawled to a medical center with a broken beer bottle in his anus. He was immediately tended to. As soon as the news of a glass stuck in someone’s posterior orifice reached the local authorities (predominantly ethnic Albanian), they quickly termed the incident a “barbaric attack”.

Three days later, after the news had made headlines and Serbs were getting furious that one of their own was attacked, Mr Djordje admitted he injured himself while playing a game of sitting on a bottle on stick only that it broke and cracked his stupid ass. It was a self-inflicted injury, a painful own goal.

Of importance to note is that political environment at the time was corrosive and tension high. There was ethnic, identity battle between the tribes of Serbs and Albanians and an incident like that could escalate things.
Because of class war and wanting to have something against Albanians, Serbs did not believe the change of story from ‘a barbaric attack to an injury gotten in the course of anal self-gratification’. Surprisingly, Mr Djordje Martinovic changed his story to align with the convictions of his ethnic group, Serbs.

He said he was attacked by masked Albanians and distanced himself from initial admission that an appetite to please his anus ended in salted hospital tears. He wanted to add more heat.
Months later after a final medical examination, it was inconclusively reached that Mr Djordje could have cracked the beer bottle when trying to stroke his anus or it could have been ‘planted’ there by attackers.

To the Serbs the incident was a symbolic reminder of how Albanians could mistreat them while authorities looked the other way. They didn’t care about factual happenings, perception mattered more. On the other hand Albanians saw it as an excavated excuse meant to start an anti-albanian crusade. Ethnic and class war brought it all.

The parallelism between the two ethnic groups was a case of “us Vs them” that had brewed for long and was slowly disintegrating the society. Each group wanted their own desires of things to be fulfilled. They wanted to champion their own agendas and weren’t ready to negotiate for the benefit of the entire nation. They wanted “us first them later”.

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Any issues, misplaced utterances or confrontation between the ethnic groups were looked through shattered lenses of identity politics. And they would stir up the groups to want to end it in a fight. And they knew if the status quo remained or took an uphill trajectory, blood and death would define the last moments.
Before civil resistance & war that culminated into Kosovo’s independence, inflammatory insinuations and disdain defined modus operandi of identity politics.

Kosovo Albanians felt marginalised, discriminated against and wanted to get out of the forced marriage. Serbs wanted their national identity to triumph. Steered by national leaders and affiliates, Kosovans mechanized emotions and weaponized impulses in anticipation of a new dawn to come, a hell to break loose. The class differentiation boiled to a point of no return and exploded into fierce battles that resulted to civil resistance, war, deaths & displacement of millions.

Consequently a new autonomous state was created. Kosovo is now a nation recognised by 98 UN Member states. And when you look into the nation’s history, you will not need Einstein’s brain to know that the biased “us Vs them” had a role to play in gassing things up.

The current happenings in Kenya have all ingredients meant to spice the “us Vs them” narrative that gradually decomposed the love between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. In any gathering the ‘Us Vs them’ identity and inflammatory remarks seem to be repeating itself and creating a perception to make people play the victim card hence having a reason to “act”. “They are fighting us, they’re targeting us, we will trounce them, let’s do this as this group etc”.

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Political entrepreneurs are classifying Kenyans and using ethnic tags to recruit supporters and fill them with adulterated truth of ‘let’s be this way because they’re that way’.
Kenyans are homogeneous. Our problems almost mirror each other. However, politics has made it seem like our shared wants are different and we must be grouped in order for specific achievements to materialise. And what has that lead to? Each ethnic faction is coming up with their own ‘irreducible minimums’ plus installing their preferred leader and creating a space only them want.

What stops these groups from being separatist movements should things not go there ways? What hurdles are there to prevent the “us” from demanding a country of their own because “them” are different and probably the cause of tribulations?

Leaders are continuing to polarize and instigate a class war with hopes of getting support from already programmed minds. This is going unchecked and could be detrimental in the long run. If corrective measures are not taken to avert the situation, if the class war is not put to a stop, the ethnic groups will be up against each other in wanting to mark their boundary.

Ethnic alignments and ground are being prepared, drums being beaten and when it all goes South and the Serbs and Albanians put their fury into action, we’ll pretend not to have seen it coming.

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Hustlers are now targeting dynasties. Dynasties are using hustlers to champion their agenda. The utterances of both hustlers and dynasties have connotations of hate meant to boil the pot for steam to eventually cause an outburst.
National agendas are being driven by personal wants that cause a rift among kenyans. Talking points are about why the other person is evil. Ideologies are based on “us verses them”. The evil politics of fragmentation is how we roll.

When “us” make a mistake, we’ll say it’s “them” who planned and executed it and before we know it we’d be having Yugoslavia breaking. Political dribbling, identity crisis is piting Kenyans against each another. Just like in Mr Djordje Martinovic’s case, an accident or a self inflicted pain will be looked through an ethnic eye and blame shifted to the other class. We will soon hear “it’s because of being us, hustlers, dynasty that these are taking place”. And the anger will bottle up and before we know it, we’ll be fearing for our lives.

In Kosovo the classified groups had toxic pluralism in what they wanted. They looked at “what’s good for us, what’s in it for them?”. Isn’t that what’s happening around?

“Us Vs them” fueled the 2007/2008 atrocities but because we are not good students of history, we are allowing the ground to be prepared for a repeat of a dark past. We’re okay with supporting class differentiation.

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