A radio host with the key to national cohesion
Posted Saturday, June 30 2012 at 20:11
I wish to dedicate this little piece to a media woman — I am convinced that it is our women who will eventually get us out of our mess — who I think is doing much more for national unity than all politicians and formal institutions put together.
This good lady does not do what a materialistic Kenyan would call big showbiz. I am not sure that such Kenyans would even care about her simple but, in my view, very well researched and, therefore, informative episodes.
Apart from being a good news anchor, Christine Ojiambo of Citizen Radio does two other things. She runs two short interludes called “Kisasi cha Kijamii” and “Mbinu za Ukulima”.
I do not know and I do not really care how many of my fellow Kenyans share my opinion, but what Christine — who I do not know personally — does in these two episodes, if given good attention by people who matter, may just be the key to what national cohesion is all about.
With “Kisasi cha Kijamii”, Christine discusses the cultural behaviour patterns of Kenya’s various ethnic communities and the thinking that informs such traditions.
Kenya is basically an agricultural economy — or at least it was before the YK92, Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing, Triton, NHIF and other scandals — so we ignore agriculture at our own peril.
Christine’s “Mbinu za Ukulima” episodes points out what we must focus on. She goes to Kenyan communities and delves deep into what is done best there agriculturally, which she broadcasts to all of Kenya.
A shallow-thinking politician — and they are many — would not want “his” or “her” people to be exposed to such.
Were the majority of our politicians truly interested in national unity and cohesion, they would borrow a leaf from Christine and this would move us all to a level we have never imagined.
Such unity would, of course, deny them the tribal card they pull out every election time.
What I have always believed, and which I have shared with a few of the politicians I know — who agree but many would never bother to try — is that if leaders coordinated groups of people in the grassroots to visit other grassroots people in far off and preferably different tribal communities for some time, and the others from the other side do the same, Kenyans would get to know each other better.
Obviously in the mind of many of our politicians, that may not be good for “politics”.
Fr Wamugunda is dean of students and sociology lecturer at the University of Nairobi