I am always saddened by comments that when we make stereotypic tribal jokes, we can help fight tribalism in Kenya.
The disappointing truth is and has always been that the jokes only reinforce the negative perceptions.
What we have always failed to recognise is that the younger generation, especially children will always learn and pick up our utterances.
Nothing has ever been good with and about tribalism. It’s practise has only done damage to our country.
Picture a situation where a comedian talks about an accident that has involved a matatu going to Kiambu and the conductor instead of asking and ensuring that everybody is okay, asks for fare from those who had not yet paid.
It might sound funny but when analysed critically, two things emerge: that people from Kiambu (used figuratively) have no regard for human life and that they only care about money.
To adults who may be in a position to understand that the remarks are merely for making fun and entertainment, the impact may not be much. Little if any.
The worries should be on that little kid who doesn’t care about the context of the statements. That child who will consume the joke wholly and maybe grow up with the opinions of the comedian written all over his mind.
How will that child be helped? Which methods can the government use, now that the citizens failed to prevent the forthcoming ‘disaster’, to detribalise the minds of the people at tender age?
Regardless of the side from which you look at ethnic-based comedy, the end result will always be very negative.
The remedy is simple, the comedians should avoid the tribal jokes at all costs, and like they say, words are like seeds. Be careful what you utter.