Mtwapa residents in Kilifi County have called on the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to crack down on hate and tribal mongers in the country.
They urged the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia-led commission to discourage the habit of some ethnic communities endorsing certain leaders as their spokespersons, saying the practice promotes tribalism and alienates members of other communities living in same localities.
Likewise, they urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to deny leaders who promote negative ethnicity the clearance to vie for elective positions saying they (tribal leaders) were not fit to lead.
The residents said this in Mtwapa town Thursday after a consultative meeting following the alleged endorsement of a certain politician in Kilifi South Constituency as the spokesperson of the Chonyi sub-tribe of the Mijikenda.
Led by Shimo la Tewa Member of County Assembly Sammy Ndago, who is also the Leader of the Majority at the County Assembly of Kilifi, the residents condemned the endorsement of tribal spokespersons saying the constituency, and especially Mtwapa town, was cosmopolitan.
“We urge the NCIC to be extra-vigilant on the utterances of leaders especially as we approach the electioneering period because wananchi are looking up to their leaders to get development and not to be divided on tribal and political grounds,” said Mr. Ndago.
Mr. Ndago noted that the habit of endorsing tribal spokespersons had started taking root in Kilifi County and this has the potential of dividing us and promoting hatred among various communities.
He told political leaders to allow Kaya elders to continue uniting the Mijikenda people instead of seeking to be spokespersons of their sub-tribes as this could lead to animosity among various communities living same localities.
“As we all know, Mtwapa is a cosmopolitan town and we would not like incitement or hatred; because we have started such issues being promoted by various leaders not just in Kilifi County, but also in the whole country,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Francis Odit and Evelyn Charo, who noted that residents had co-existed harmoniously in the area despite Mtwapa being home to various communities, some of them international.
“The NCIC should do the work that it is paid to do so that we can continue living in peace as Kenyans and not as members of certain tribes,” Mr. Odit said, adding that Kenyans, should promote nationhood the way Tanzanian nationals were doing.
Ms. Charo urged the NCIC and IEBC to act decisively against politicians who insult each other and those who preach tribalism in order to save the country from political violence before, during and after the 2022 General Elections.
“I urge the commissions to be firm against politicians who insult one another, incite their communities against other communities because they are planting the seeds of hatred which will ultimately lead to bloodshed,” she said.
Such politicians, she said, should not be allowed to vie for any elective positions as those who suffer most during political violence are women and children.