Kenyans focus on politics as an escape from their mediocre lives. For example, marriages in Kenya are matters of economic security not love. Friendships in Kenya are matters of business or job networking. Christianity in Kenya is just a theory when Churches are headquarters for social events frequented by those seeking spouses, wealth and companionship.
Ask yourself, would a man who loves his family turn to violence when there is a chance for peace or would a mother who loves her child seek the destruction of a child by another mother? Politics is the only way to feel alive when we lead such mediocre lives. We feel as though we are part of something and that we can make a difference in society. We feel that the world will remember our thoughts and opinions.
Even chronic poverty does not lead to a violent political nature but the lack of a moral conscience or a set of values always leads to militant politics. Poverty is also not an explanation for tribal politics when the middle and upper classes also practice tribalism and yes, they do. People who rise up against oppression in their society stand up together. In Kenya, people have always stood up for their tribe but never against oppression even when their tribe is the oppressor or the agitator.
The ‘second liberation’ was necessary because a common foe existed but ethnic undertones persisted within the opposition and as such, it was never really an effort at liberation. Remember, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ Similar circumstances also existed during NARC. People stood up for their ethnic groups at that time. It just so happened that their tribal leaders stood together to defeat a common foe. In retrospect, we never had liberators and we do not have them today.
In conclusion, Kenyans have a deep psychological and emotional need to stand up for their tribe as opposed to a sincere desire for change. Doing so gives them a sense of identity/belonging and a voice in society i.e. the very things that are lacking in their family structure. As Pope John Paul II once said, ‘As the family goes, so goes the world.” The question is what gives rise to this need. Well, the answer is simple i.e. mediocre lives informed by a serious lack of moral values.