I met Mike early last year when he applied for a communications consultancy job at my organisation. He was a nice chap. Down to earth. Industrious. Knowledgeable. Skilled and he always dressed to impress. I liked him immediately. As a result, I gave him the Kshs 4.2 million job.
Since he was reporting to me, over the next six months we became close, professionally and socially. I liked his maturity, sense of humour and devotion to details and professionalism. A well educated and travelled chap, Mike epitomised what most people need to be – open minded, tolerant and diligent. Two weeks of our meeting, he proudly introduced me to Babes – for that’s how he proudly called his fiancée and soon to be wife. You can always tell a man who has fallen hard for a woman. He just can’t stop talking about her. Well, such was Mike. His life, energy, future and hope revolved around the lovely Babes. In any case, what was there not to love about Babes? Besides being stunningly gorgeous, smart and intelligent, she had wife material written all over her cleavage and curvaceous sexually charged figure.
He threw a lavish big fat African party for her early this year to celebrate their six years of being together. He planned to wed her before June this year… wait for it… in the absolutely picture perfect Sheba Beach Resort in Lamu. From what the gods whispered, it was going to be a wedding made in heaven, and why would it not be? For what was worth, 2nd February 2015, his account was stinking of 4.2 million.
The idiot millionaire
After he completed the consultancy job in January this year, I didn’t hear from Mike until recently when I bumped into him at the shopping mall. He was looking dishevelled, confused, and was smelling either of sweat or he hadn’t brushed his teeth. He momentarily hid behind his exhausted smile when he saw me. The super confident, author of sense of humour Mike was now replaced by a timid fellow who looked like his existence was literally held by a thread of his mother’s prayers. Interestingly, there was no mention of Babes to complete every sentence. Immediately curiosity took over me and like Oprah Winfrey, I was thinking of doing a talk show about him with the byline: Meet Mike, the idiot who squandered Kshs 4.2 million in two hours. Or better still, Meet Mike, the new millionaire in town who doesn’t know where people buy happiness, cologne or toothpaste.
It took some diplomatic persuasion to convince Mike to join me for a drink. An hour later, I was sweating profusely in areas I didn’t know existed in my body. Mike had broken up with Babes two months ago coz his Kisii family couldn’t stand him marrying a Kikuyu girl. His parents, in particular had made it clear to him that they won’t have anything to do with him if he went ahead and married Babes. Well, not wanting to go against the wishes of his people, Mike had painfully called it quits with Babes. Now what was interesting to me though was how he had suddenly gotten so brainwashed to the point that he seemed to agree with the wishes and skewed tribalistic perspective of his parents and clan. I mean how unfair is it to reject someone just coz of their tribe?
Mike took over an hour to try and convince me – though he sounded like he was desperately trying to convince himself – why he couldn’t marry Babes coz she was Kikuyu. Dude, you dated this chic for six years. You even proposed to her and you were planning to marry her. So, what exactly besides the fact that she’s Kikuyu don’t you want to marry her? I had asked him without blinking. He was lost for words, save for the fact that it was the wishes of his parents and people. He clearly was, and I insist from how he sounded and looked, still deeply in love with Babes. Though he tried unsuccessfully to look happy, I could tell he was hurting and missing the love of his love, his soulmate, Babes. Before we parted ways, he had shown me photos on his phone of some confused Kisii girl he plans to marry.
Foolishness of tribal stereotypes
Let me admit that Mike’s story has bothered me for a while now. Maybe I’m too liberal or too christian, but frankly speaking I just don’t get it with how we have leaped so low as human beings, and specifically as Kenyans to discriminate our fellow human beings strictly on the basis of their tribe. By the way, don’t get me wrong. I am not blind to the fact that they are super crazy, psychotic Kikuyu women, and pretty much women from other tribes out there. Of course, we all have heard stories, stereotypes and prejudices of how women from tribe A or B are this and that. But it doesn’t justify the cowardly and foolish act of judging someone strictly based on their tribe. What is appalling to me is the fact that most of these people perpetuating tribal animosity and holier-than-thou attitudes are well-educated and travelled people. Shamefully, they also call themselves Christians or religious people. They never miss church, mosque or temple. They purport to love God, yet they can’t stand their fellow human beings just coz they don’t belong to their tribes. So, which God is this you exactly worship, if you can discriminate his own creation?
Peeps, this foolishness of tribal stereotype and prejudices is killing our lovely nation, and it needs to stop. Why have we allowed politics of division and greediness to dedicate even the people we fall in love with or marry, and the schools and churches we go to? Does simply marrying from your own tribe guarantee you eternal happiness and fulfilment? Okay so you hate certain tribes, what exactly did they do to you? Did a whole tribe screw you, or it was simply one, two or three people? And don’t you think its so idiotic to hate a whole tribe coz of what one person did to you? How has your tribesmen being in leadership directly improved the standard of your life? Aren’t you buying everything at the same price just like everybody else? Are you near God just coz your tribesmen is in power? And do they share with you the looted public funds? So, why the hullabaloo about tribes and politics?