At the brink of our General Elections, the Asian Community was recognized as the 44th Tribe of Kenya on 22nd July as per the gazette notice issued by the President Uhuru Kenyatta. The term Asian will refer to those who are descendants of Indian and Pakistani origins.
While this marks a long time needed recognition it also means many other things. The counting of the Asians will be taken more seriously and their contribution has been notably large to the Kenyan economy. However it will be under further scrutiny and most of all, it is time they stepped up their participation in the running of the nation. These General Elections will probably see the highest ever proposals of various candidates of Asian origin proving that they can be the next Member of County Assembly or begin to play a role as the voice for the community in the Government.
Their results and more so their performance will set the standards and expectations from the rest of the nation as to what this 44th tribe is really capable of when in office. A larger representative can strengthen the image of the community. Becoming a 44th tribe is a tremendous opportunity for the Asians to further reiterate their Kenyan loyalty and to protect, defend and earn for the sovereign nation. For some it can be an opportunity and others can be a responsibility. Yes, the responsibility to do more and speak up about issues and really make that change for one and all and not for one estate or area.
According to Wikipedia: “A tribe is a group of distinct people, dependent on their land for their livelihood, who are largely self-sufficient, and not integrated into the national society.”
Also, the word Asian is different in the United Kingdom and United States.
In the UK it refers to South Asian ancestry, those from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
In the United States they say East Asian.
Asians have worldwide been known to also include Japanese, Chinese and others from East Asia. Thus, in a way things may go ahead and get complicated and others may want their status recognized too. This, brings the question that is there any benefit for this recognition? The most important classifications should actually be based on age and income levels, then the demographics can be more effective in producing change. When you start dissecting which tribe is outperforming or underperforming then you are certainly working on the divide-rule factor. Then, where can the country progress too? All should be one, and one passport can mean just that. It is the constitution that holds the power and a strong judiciary to put the balances right.
Kenyan Asians are starting a new chapter of their millennial history since 1963 and what the youth do will certainly set the pace of what it means to be one, just like British Asians have so far done. We may not be as diverse as India itself, but Kenya certainly is setting up for the new way of governance in the coming decades, where youth of all tribes are bringing in new ideas to shape the country. How tribal it will get only time can tell, what is more important is always the candidate’s capability and performance, all words and no action will never create a Rainbow Nation.