Tribalism is Killing. I think I know why
- 17 Articles
Getting into power in my country is based not on your ideologies or a good campaign strategy but rather which tribe you were born into. A man is most times not judged by his skill set or character but rather the tribe in which he was born into. Belonging to a certain tribe killed a lot of people in 2008, displaced thousands and left a country picking up its pieces trying to get back on its feet after taking a massive fall.
This is not only limited to my country as it is happening all over the continent. Politicians have perfected the art of divide and conquer. Take the South Sudan conflict for example, did you know that even at the UN refugee camps the two ethnic groups are being kept on separate sides for security concerns; the Dinka are on one side and the Nuer on another.
This troubling issue got me thinking. Why are we so prone to manipulation on such terms? Are we stupid, ignorant or just plain naïve? Or is tribalism an inherent quality that is hard and impossible to fight.
Tribalism Vs Ideology
As a scholar I am ideally inclined towards ideology based on my acquired habit of rationalizing issues. This would therefore mean that if I take away my scholarly disposition, I will act in whatever way comes naturally albeit not in all aspects.
The fact that most elections in African nations are most of the time based purely on tribe rather than issues or ideologies is most of the time viewed as being naïve. Well, it is to some extent because it is the cause of bad governance and the continued turmoil of the continent that we are eventually the victims of it. But if you critically evaluate the cause of the situation you realize it is a matter of nature being reinforced by nurture. Most young Africans who have not had the chance to leave their villages grow up in a society where all the people they know belong to their tribe, they get very little interaction with people from outside this affiliation. When such a person gets to university, before he can be able to shed off the one thing he has grown up knowing: very old-age dogs and new tricks! He most likely gets educated and fails to learn. He then goes ahead and carries the habits forward.
As human beings we are all naturally subjective when it comes to family or friends. We act in favor of those we are familiar with or those we can relate to even if it is remotely. This makes it easy for someone without any scholarly training to get manipulated when someone appeals to their emotional conditioning. This is what politicians and rebel leaders take advantage of: they manipulate young minds and parade them up for war.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not justifying or defending actions of those people who are killing and maiming other human beings based on their tribal affiliation. I am well aware of the effects that tribalism or ethnicity can have in a society; I have felt the impacts first hand. What I am putting across is a perspective on this issue that people mostly ignore. We need to understand our nature if we are to change it!