- The utility of the Mulembe numbers, however, is that they feed other species, as the rallies in Kakamega’s Bukhungu Stadium and Mumias Sports Complex last Saturday reminded us.
Teacher Munira tells the children in Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Petals of Blood that some things eat, and others are eaten. It is simply a law of nature. And I have read somewhere that nature is hostile to weakness.
A limping antelope will not survive. The lions will snack on it, way before breakfast. Survival for the fittest is the name of the game.
The slowest antelope must be faster than the fastest lion, otherwise it will be eaten. The slowest lion must be faster than the slowest antelope. If not, it must starve to death.
In this world, you will either eat or be eaten. We live on a food chain. Foxes eat birds. Birds eat butterflies. Butterflies eat plants. Some of us eat.
Others are eaten. We rank differently on the chain, depending on whether you will eat, or be eaten.
The people who call themselves the Mulembe nation of Kenya don’t know this natural law. These polyphyletic Bantoid peoples in the Lake Victoria Basin are like the wildebeest in the jungle, except that the beasts are wiser.
The Mulembe people lack the swarm intelligence of the beasts. Yes, they boast of numerical superiority like the beasts. Conservationists would classify both as “least-concern species,” because of their massive numbers.
The utility of the Mulembe numbers, however, is that they feed other species, as the rallies in Kakamega’s Bukhungu Stadium and Mumias Sports Complex last Saturday reminded us.
While the wildebeest is the most populous big-game animal in East Africa, it ranks very low on the food chain. Predators stalk it for food, everywhere it goes in its mass.
And Kenyans have been treated to the stalking of the Abaluhya by Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader, Raila Odinga.
Unlike the wildebeest, the Abaluhya are unable to fend off predation through collective action. They are willing prey.
Indeed, the wildebeest demonstrates more common sense than these people, from among whom I am descended. Swarm intelligence is the collective instinct by which animals interact with their species, and with their environment.
They know how to form themselves into a protective herd. They mass the young ones at the centre, for protection by the older ones.
Trooping together makes it difficult for an individual to be preyed upon by a predator. They know how to read and interpret alarm calls from other animals and how to prepare their defence.
The herd instinct is another simple law of nature, for those who will survive. In the autobiographical Sunset in Biafra, Elechi Amadi recognizes the instinct as “vital to the survival of any race or tribe . . . It operates subconsciously and persistently.”
Pushed to the extreme, however, the herd instinct could lead to unending inter-species wars.
White, red, yellow and black peoples are locked up in endless strife. Amadi concludes, “The survival of the human race will depend very much on our knowledge of this instinct and our ability to keep it under constant control. We belittle it at our peril.”
Yet, it is also true, herds that lack swarm intelligence will also perish. And the Abaluhya herd lacks this intelligence.
When the Mt Kenya herd invites Raila to its habitat, it is read to him what he must do for it, if the Mountain is to support him for great things. The Abaluhya herd, for its part, divides itself into two mutually hostile strands.
One strand invites Ruto while the other one invites Raila; both to join them in insulting one another.
In a country where political mobilisation is through the tribe, it is hardly possible that either of Raila and Ruto could embody the interests of the Mulembe people. In fact, they don’t.
Both, however, recognize the numerical value of the raw numbers in this community, and its low value on the Kenyan political food chain. And they are best gathered for munching when the community is rigidly divided against itself.
Friendly hostility and playful contempt is the best way to predate on this nation.
-The writer is a strategic communication advisor