There is a group of Kikuyus calling itself Kiama kia Ma has appointed Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri as the spokesperson of the Kikuyus residing in the Rift Valley.
The main purpose is to keep themselves organised as a community, and to champion their interests separately from other communities in the region.
Other Kikuyus in the Rift Valley have, however, distanced themselves from this group for several reasons.
First, the group that appointed Kimani was not representative of the entire community that lives in the Rift Valley, nor was the entire community in the region represented in the meeting that made that decision.
Second, that this group is ethnically organised and does not accommodate other communities makes it tribal, and its interests antagonistic to those of other Kenyans.
Third, that this group can only be led by Kikuyus from the Rift Valley, not by those from Central Kenya or another ethnic community, makes its leadership tribal and unqualified to lead.
Forth, being the tribal leader of the community in the region, Ngunjiri cannot be the only spokesperson of the Kikuyu Diaspora in the Rift Valley. There are other leaders who are not tribal and can champion interests of all Kenyan communities.
From his statements, there is little doubt that Ngunjiri and his Kiama kia Ma are opposed to the March 9 handshake and rather prefers the political company of Deputy President William Ruto into which he would like to recruit the Kikuyus in the Rift Valley under the fear of attack and eviction, if they do not vote for Ruto.
Despite propensity for negative ethnicity, sell by date of tribal leadership is well over. Ngunjiri cannot ask Kikuyus of the Rift Valley to cut ties with their brothers and sisters in Central Kenya. Ha can’t also ask them to distance themselves from the Kambas, the Luhyas, the Somalis, the Luos or any other community. The trend today is not to split communities nor is it to separate Kenyan communities from each other. It is to bring them together.
Unfortunately, tribal leaders are not driven by love and unity. They are driven by politics of ethnic hate, fear, money and blackmail. Even when Uhuru and Raila have stated their intentions to unite the country, tribal leaders continue to say the President is yet to tell them to embrace persons like Raila.
This is the person against whom they continue to propagate hate albeit camouflaged as failure by Uhuru to renounce the two-person pact with Ruto and replace it with new multi-community pact embracing Raila, Ruto and all the other Kenyans.
The Kimani-led tribal leadership of Kikuyus in the Rift Valley is based, not on ethnic love or tolerance but fear and blackmail that if Kikuyus do not vote for Ruto, they will be evicted from the region. Yet we cannot have democracy or national unity if all communities are not free to elect the candidate they want without any fear or reprisal from anyone. After all, Uhuru, Ruto and now Raila have already said that never again will anyone be attacked or killed because of how they vote or express themselves.
When a leader demands votes because he made a pact with another or persuades people to elect a candidate because of fear of attacks, democracy is dead.
A democratic government should protect those who feel forced to organise themselves ethnically for protection, which should be provided freely and unfailingly.
By Koigi wa Wamwere
As Published in the Star