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No War in the Diaspora

Submitted by mwakilishi on Mon, 04/23/2012 - 03:38

Kenya Ambassadors and High Commissioners are representatives and guardians of the Kenyan people abroad. When an Ambassador confronts people from his home country  with the statement, I DO NOT  ENTERTAIN TRIBAL GROUPINGS after they pay him a visit, Just because they talk one common language, when an ambassador refuses to reply to an invitation letter by people from his home country, just because the invitation letter does not have multiple signatures of people from different tribes,  who is tribal, that Ambassador or the individual people from his home country who live together in one area?

This was exactly what happened when his Excellency Ambassador Elkanah Odembo arrived in USA as the new Kenya Ambassador to USA to replace  the former Kenya Ambassador to USA, His Excellency Peter Ogego .  The first group to go to the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC to welcome the new Ambassador,  was a group of Kenyans from Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first group to be greeted with the harsh words “I do not entertain tribal groupings”.  The second group of Kenyans to taste the wrath of Ambassador Odembos motto of “I do not entertain tribal groupings” was one from Massachusetts.  In September 2010,  the Kenyan Ambassador to the USA,  was sent an invitation letter by the New England Pastors Fellowship Association, a group of 45 Reverends, Pastors and Bishops representing Kenya congregations from 4 States in USA,  namely Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Rode Island. As representatives of thousands of Kenyans living in the United States of America, they wanted to meet  their new Ambassador.  

Most people in Massachusetts come from the Kikuyu community in Kenya, and therefore, the Ambassador considered it a tribal group, prompting his refusal to reply to the invitation letter from the New England Pastors Fellowship Association.  Although the Ambassador has been advocating Anti-Tribal groupings, he has been a frequent visitor of Tallahassee in Florida. Who he has been visiting and why he has always chosen Tallahassee as his favorite city of visit, is every Kenyans guess.
Despite the efforts of the Association to prepare for the arrival of the  Ambassador, he never replied nor did he ever call the Association to officially acknowledge receipt of the invitation letter, although it was confirmed that the letter reached the office of the Ambassador. More efforts to consult with the Ambassador over the invitation were unsuccessful. Similarly, the Kenyan people in New Jersey, who live very close to Washington DC. have tried to invite the Ambassador in vain.  They are considered to be a tribal group because most of them come from  the Kisii community in Kenya. Living together as a community in one state in America while the other Kenyan community lives together  in another state should never be considered  to be tribal. Recently the Ambassador failed to receive the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Richard Onyonka or send a representative. Whether Dr. Onyonka and his team were considered a tribal group by the Ambassador, it remains a puzzle.
What exactly would happen if  His Excellency Ambassador became the President of Kenya, where different groups of people live in different locations, talk one language and a culture of their own?. Would he ever visit any such a community or be visited by one such a  community at State House?

May the Ambassador be advised that there are three categories of Kenyans arriving abroad.  There are those who win Green Card, those who arrive as visitors and those who are prospective students.  In either case there is always a host in place to receive the new comer.  Everyone who travels abroad under the categories above, is either received by a friend or a relative, and often settles in that same area he is received.  That is the reason why different communities are found living together in different locations in USA and elsewhere in the World.

Kenya Ambassadors and High Commissioners all over the World should learn to listen to every Kenyan in need and to accept to meet any group of Kenyans. They are  representatives and guardians of Kenyans living with them abroad.  They should always strive to unite them instead of dividing them, as is happening in the USA. There is a culture in Kenyans leadership circles where no one accepts a mistake even when a mistake is obvious. Failure to accept mistakes blocks all avenues for corrections and creates room for repetitions of same mistakes.  And unless the Ambassador explains why he failed to receive the Assistant Minister and the Vice Chairperson of the IEBC or send his representative, the Kenya Government  should prove that change is already in process  by taking a disciplinary action against the Ambassador.   Otherwise Kenyans will remain convinced that the current Government may never succeed in eradicating impunity. The fear created by the impunity in Kenya is far more threatening than the fear expressed by the Kenyan Ambassador to the USA in Boston recently.
According to the Standard Newspaper, Kenyans in the Diaspora are so tribal to an extent of brewing trouble in Kenya, a statement which is misguiding and false. Kenyans in the Diaspora, especially in the US, have not been  tribally divided as depicted in the Standard newspaper. What featured recently in the Standard Newspaper  was an exaggeration of tribalism in the Diaspora which does not warrant any alarm. Kenyans in Diaspora have not been killing one another as portrayed  in the newspaper and neither have they been  the cause of the common attacks and killings witnessed in Kenya from time to time since 1992. Unless a new project to loot public funds in the name of collecting signatures to keep peace in America is in the offing, it would be unimaginable to buy buses in order to go round in USA to collect signatures from Kenyans in the Diaspora for the Purposes of keeping peace. One thing, this is an insult to the competent security system in the USA and an abuse to all the Kenyans living in USA.

All the Ambassador is required to do, if he is really convinced that Kenyans in USA  are about to start killing one another,  is to report what he knows about the insecurity among the Kenya communities living in USA, to the US authorities, and  I can assure him that everything  will be taken care of, and all his worries will be gone.  Instead of wasting money to buy buses, buy gas to run the buses, hire drivers and personnel to run such an unnecessary expensive exercise, all that money should be channeled to other important projects in Kenya,  such as helping the Internally Displaced people or transfer the same exercise to Kenya, where attacks and killings have been  common during elections. 

Kenyans in the USA have never attacked and/or killed one another as a group, and when that time comes, the US security system will be in charge and will take care of it, and not the Kenyan Ambassador or the Kenya Government.

By Isaac Newton Kinity

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