Sweden: There is No Tension Between Luos and Kikuyus in Stockholm
Posted by African Press International on January 20, 2013
Osewe (photo below) reacting to this: Sweden: Muirani’s Kenya Peace Initiative Faces Challenge from Kamau
By >Okoth Osewe
Political differences are normal in any democratic society
A letter by Kamau Moja, a Kenya-Stockholmer, challenging the planned peace mission of Githuku wa Muirani published at KSB (January 16th 2013) elicited mixed reactions from the Kenya-Stockholm community. After what could be a mild exposition of his perceived short-comings of Mr. Muirani within the Kenya-Stockholm community, Kamau proceeded to make a chilling but unsubstantiated claim that the Raila-Uhuru politics unfolding in Kenya as election day draws closer has “created tension” between the Luo and Kikuyu ethnic groups in Stockholm. This is not true.
Historically, the Luo and the Kikuyu ruling classes in Kenya have not been very good friends because of a multiplicity of reasons. Unfortunately, the political differences between these ruling classes have permeated into the very fabric of social relations between the Luo and Kikuyu ethnic groups at the level of the middle class, the working class, the proletariat, students, the peasantry and lumpens alike. Sadly, the superficial differences between the two ethnic groups arising out of the petty and opportunistic political machinations by wealth grabbers in Kenya have infected significant sections of the Kenyan Diaspora.
In Kenya-Stockholm, there is no denying that a tiny conglomeration of ethnic chauvinists from both the Luo and Kikuyu communities do exist. The situation is the same in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Finland and other countries where there is a significant presence of Kenyans. However, for anybody to elevate the primitive inter-ethnic hatred resident within a tiny and tribalist section of the Luo and Kikuyu communities into a major trend in Kenya-Stockholm is to amplify naked reality from the point of view of the Luo-Kikuyu relations in Kenya-Stockholm.
As an operative who has been at the centre of gravity in the socio-politico-cultural relations in Kenya-Stockholm, I can report that there is no known tension between Luos and Kikuyus in Stockholm occasioned by political gerrymandering of self-centred and egocentric politicians in Kenya.
Although it is true that there are Luos and Kikuyus who are very selective when it comes to social interactions between the two communities, the fundamental factor that usually determines the mode of attendance of the mentioned functions has continued to be determined by inter-personal relationships, social networks and long-standing political affiliations between members of the two ethnic groups built over long periods of time, not pure ethnic considerations.
By alleging that there is “tension” between Luos and Kikuyus because of political developments in Kenya, Kamau was unconsciously making a serious allegation without producing empirical data to back up his thesis. The big problem is that the issue of Luo-Kikuyu relations is sensitive and the pedestrian nature of Kamau’s treatment of the subject could carry serious consequences if the true reality of the situation is not rendered by informed minds. Nevertheless, it might be consoling to note that Kamau could be forgiven for his spurious assumptions borne out of the need to materialize a credible reason that could enable him get even with Mr. Muirani for undisclosed reasons. Why?
Kamau simply wanted to convey the message that the point of departure of Mr. Muirani’s planned peace mission in Kenya could have been based on him addressing the issue of tribalism in Kenya-Stockholm. My main quarrel with Kamau is that in order to archive his objective, he manufactured the Luo-Kikuyu tension to strengthen his argument that Muirani may have been departing from a major problem in Kenya-Stockholm which, from the point of view of Kamau, deserved more attention compared to an undefined peace mission in Kenya.
The truth is that there is no tension between Luos and Kikuyus in Kenya-Stockholm. What we have are political differences which are unavoidable in any democratic society. Obviously, the Raila-Uhuru political drama in Kenya exhibits strong ethnic pulses, both at home and in Diaspora. However, to transform these pulses into key differences between Luos and Kikuyus in Stockholm and without presenting the key dialectics of the situation is disparaging to say the least.
If Kamau has personal differences with Mr. Muirani and his planned peace mission in Kenya, he ought to articulate his position without manufacturing a fake tension between Luos and Kikuyus in Stockholm. The two communities continue to live in peace and if a Luo does not attend a Kikuyu function or vice versa, Kamau should not exploit the situation to gain mileage in his struggles with Mr. Muirani.
By creating a fictitious scenario in which Luos and Kikuyus in Stockholm were portrayed as having been at loggerheads, and by using this fake scenario to advance his anti-Muirani agenda, Kamau exposed himself as a chief provocateur of ethnic hatred in Kenya-Stockholm. In as much as Kenyans in Stockholm might have their differences with Mr. Muirani and his novel peace mission, it would be misleading for them to buy Kamau’s presentation because the scenario painted by Kamau is imaginary.
It would be wise if Kenyans in Stockholm exploited the Kamau type of rigmarole to cement unity between the different Kenyan ethnic groups in Kenya-Stockholm. In as much as Kamau has a right to his opinion, he should have been more objective, given that he was handling a delicate and sensitive subject that required more objectivity and sensitivity.
If Kamau’s wayward postulation goes unchallenged, he shall have succeeded in driving yet another wedge between Luos and Kikuyus in Kenya-Stockholm. I am a Luo and I have too many Kikuyu friends in Kenya-Stockholm. By challenging Kamau on his unsubstantiated claims, part of the agenda is to convey the message to my Kikuyu friends that tuko pamoja.