Tribal Violence

Ascribing violence in Kenya (or anywhere else in Africa) solely to “tribal rivalries” is little more than a simplistic dismissal of complex reality. It’s also denigrating to individuals whose lives consist of much more than looking for ways to enhance their tribe’s fortunes. Finding a job, educating their children, putting food on the table are important to most of the people I’ve met in my travels to Africa. When their individual economic and social interests are suppressed by another group—be they a tribe, a religious group, or a political party—they complain.

When institutions, governmental or otherwise, fail to respond to those demands for various reasons, individual complaints are channeled into group protests. The most convenient group in many places happens to be the tribe. Tribal membership itself isn’t the cause of violence, it’s simply a facilitating device exploited by power-hungry leaders.

–Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds


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