There is no doubt the Abagusii, a community whose majority citizens and descendants reside in the land of hills and “God’s bathroom’ is blessed in so many ways. Their journey to this land was wrought with tribulations; hostile, warlike and numerically superior neighbours, disease and pestilence.
They had to be hyper-sensitive to their environment to survive, exist. Perhaps, to ward off the enemy, their sensitivity and defensive instincts morphed into their often talked about hot temper!
They survived all manner of adversity because of their unity, indomitable spirit and providence of their merciful eng’oro (God)—and this is why the older folk in their moment of self-pride refer to the community as the abana b’omwando( blessed children).
It is this DNA of survival, industry, pride, hospitality and independence that has enabled the community, despite its ‘minority’ status in the Kenyan ethno-political parlance, to stamp its indelible and enviable footprints in the socio-economic, political, sports, educational and technological sphere locally and globally.
The Abagusii, though often not acknowledged, their honour and pride in the struggle for Kenya’s independence cannot be wished away. For instance, one of their gallant sons, Otenyo Nyamaterere, a warrior who was executed and his head carted away to the UK museum where it lies to date, after killing a European Colonial administrator, is testimony of their contribution to free the country from colonial chains.
This is also true of their heroine, Moraa Ngiti, who galvanised the community against the Mzungu intruders and their collaborators.
And indeed, the community; individually and collectively, has made an enviable and significant contribution to our motherland in all spheres.
Sadly, because of the ever-conniving, treacherous, retrogressive and ethno-superiority driven discourse of our politics, the contribution and potential of Abagusii like other smaller communities, has been overshadowed and relegated to the periphery as others with numerical might lord it over the country.
This has been and will continue to be the bane of Kenya’s politics—and general growth—unless reversed.
This is why as the country hurtles to the watershed 2022 election with communities strategizing to stake their claim on the post-Uhuru Kenyatta presidency, the Abagusii have to pose and ask themselves how it place themselves and their leaders as key players in the succession. It is a time to step back to reflect and introspect on how it can wean itself of the demeaning tag of a “go-to vote top-up” community by the numerically superior players!
In the government that is facing its sunset, one of our sons, Dr Fred Matiang’I, who has excelled as top performer in all government dockets he has held, is now skating on thin ice with call for his ouster echoing from the background. He has been marked as an apt sacrificial lamb—never mind his experience, skills and performance— in the dirty game of politics because he lacks political solid ground to stand on!
I look back with great nostalgia to our glorious political days of when as a community spoke with one voice and pray that the patriotic spirits of the leaders; late Dr Zachary Onyonka, Simeon Nyachae, Dr Lawrence Sagini, James Nyamweya, Andrew Omanga, George Anyona, Sephania Anyieni, George Morara and Mark Bosire among others arise to guide the our current leaders to unite and chart a new political destiny for the community.
It is time to look to the future and let any missteps and ego trips of yesterday be consigned to the dustbins of history—and unless this happens, we will be relegated to socio-political oblivion in these seismic political times. The moment to engage and talk as a community is now.
Failure to do so, we will as the current generation stand condemned by posterity!
This is more urgent than it has ever been, and we all have to seize this moment to define a distinct political identity and destiny. Who will be our Moses to lead the community out of the political Misri we are stuck in?
The author is former FKF president and senior community leader