Despite its huge popularity, professional football in Europe is marred by racism. The worst aspect of it is when – all too frequently – Black players are swamped with abusive shouts of “monkey” from the stands.
At first, I absolutely couldn’t believe an African would label a fellow African this way on local television. I had to ask several people who watched the broadcast to confirm that is what Suna East MP Junet Mohamed actually called Coast Regional Commissioner Nelson Marwa.
I can’t quite recall the exact circumstances, other than that it had something to do with Marwa’s ongoing crackdown on drug trafficking at the Coast.
Now, Junet is not Caucasian (White) by any stretch of the imagination. He is as Black and African as we come, with just a stretch of softer hair than the rest of us.
But I can guess where he is coming from. Being Cushitic is fine, but low-rent types like him tend to resort to this “monkey” business whenever they want to insult other Black Africans. Many ethnic Somali people I know will not go there. Not on TV, anyway. But those like Junet can’t resist going down the sewer.
This Junet-style mindset holds this picture of “lofty” Cushites pitted against Bantus like Marwa who rule them in Kenya and about whom they hark to ancient tales of how the latter migrated from Congo, where presumably they were swinging in the forests like apes.
You come across this sort of trash all over the uncouth corners of social media. It is not even an original slur. It is a Caucasian invention. The Junets, in everything they do and say, are mere imitators.
This silly African-to-African race-profiling was fuelled during the colonial period when ethnic Somalis in Kenya had certain minor privileges, like being appointed domestic housekeepers in White establishments. This certainly gave some of them the notion that they could pass themselves off as non-natives.
I know Marwa’s administrative decrees drive ODM loyalists like Junet up the wall. Yet my reply today is not about Junet’s ethnicity, or even about his politics.
It is simply about his bad manners. These cheap insults say more about his small-mindedness than they do about the Coast administrator.
Make no mistake, Junet is not an ODM sycophant out of conviction. Nor is his opposite number in Jubilee, Majority Leader Aden Duale. It is all about political expediency and positioning.
Where the two intersect, from their different vantage points, is by standing guard to protect ethnic Somali interests in Kenya above all else. Duale openly admitted it when Somali aliens were being rounded up in Nairobi’s Eastleigh in 2014.
In fact, I would venture to add that Duale is quite happy that there is a Junet who is well-placed in ODM, in case the opposition ever came to power and tables turned. Partisan political party considerations are secondary. This is sly politics, for sure. Just don’t tie it to party ideology.
There is a simple conversational recipe that never fails to madly inflame those with a bogus Cushitic “superiority complex” like Junet. First, gently remind them that they are kinsmen to clans from the only failed state in Africa.
Go on to say that that nation, which has over the years sought to reclaim “lost” provinces in Ethiopia and Kenya, has suffered successive and humiliating military defeats as a result.
Crown it all by reminding them that, as we speak, armies from five different African states, including Kenya and Ethiopia, are stationed inside the Somali state.
It is all for Somalia’s own good, I suppose. Otherwise al-Shabaab would have overrun the place if it was not for Amisom’s presence.
The other major Cushitic group, the Oromo of Ethiopia, have forever remained under the boot of whichever authority is in charge in Addis Ababa. Previously it was the Amharas. Today it is the Tigray-dominated government. (Both groups are Semitic).
The Oromo have lately been in uprising, at the sad cost of hundreds of lives. Most of their leaders are in jail. One would expect a sense of Cushitic humility after such crushing setbacks.
I perfectly understand that the first priority for MPs like Junet is to be ultra-loyal to their party patrons, else he would not be in Parliament, going by the demographics of Migori County. Still, one must rise above that and do what is right. In this case, a simple apology to Marwa would do. Just do it, Junet.