• Being such a diverse country, Kenya is divided along tribal lines and lacks shared beliefs, ideals and aspirations.
  • The Building Bridges Initiative report, launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta, last week attempts to address this challenge.
  • One recommendation the report cited is coming up with a national ethos that builds and reinforces unity by instilling ethics in every Kenyans heart.

Kenya has 42 ethnic tribes spread across the country. The tribes are known for their unique history, culture, values, lifestyle, language, religion, food and more.

Being such a diverse country it is no wonder Kenya is a divided country that lacks shared beliefs, ideals and aspirations about what the country can become.

The Building Bridges Initiative report, launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, last week attempts to address this challenge.

The Building Bridges Initiative report launch at Bomas of Kenya
The Building Bridges Initiative report launch at Bomas of Kenya

One recommendation the report cited is coming up with a national ethos that builds and reinforces unity by instilling ethics in every Kenyans heart.

The Taskforce also recommends the formation of an Ethics Commission to sit under the Office of the President that will keep track of and support the diverse efforts to develop, build and entrench a new national ethos.

To achieve this end the BBI recommends strengthening the link between culture and constitution in a bid to improve the country’s overall ethics.

BBI further recommends introduction of ethics as a compulsory subject in Kenyan schools from kindergarten to Universities.

The Swahili people have a saying Samaki mkunje angali mbichi, which literally means the easiest way to bend fish is when it is still fresh from the water.

The saying has a deeper meaning though and advices society that in order to create any meaningful change it is best to do early and at infant stage before one is too old.

Class one pupils with their laptops at one of the primary schools in Kenya.
Class one pupils with their laptops at one of the primary schools in Kenya.

The report hopes the seed of being an ethical Kenyan can be planted in the hearts of Kenyan children and as they grow they will hold the value dear and use it for the general good.

This can be achieved through policy guidance from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the County Governments implementing measures that encourage and enable all Councils of Elders or community leaders to formalise rites of passage to include both genders, and to incorporate into them national values and citizen rights and responsibilities.

Kenyans waving flags
Kenyans waving flags

Doing this is likely to reduce tribal bigotry, myths and misconception currently afflicting Kenya.

It's a fact that businesses always thrive when there is peace and cohesion in the country. BBI recommends having a stronger ethics body to prevent and solve ethics issues.

The report also recommends celebrating ordinary Kenyans who go out of their way to unite Kenyans. Kenya has no shortage of such heroes and heroines.

Teacher, Bro Peter Tabichi
Teacher, Bro Peter Tabichi

The likes of Peter Tahichi and Eliud Kipchoge are currently on the lips of every Kenyan and serve as a good example.

Last month, during the 10th Mashujaa celebration Kipchoge was awarded the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (EGH), the highest civilian honour, by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

To ensure their gains are not lost and more Kenyans are inspired to emulate them the report recommends every Public institution, non-governmental organisation, and company to develop an integrity and ethics strategy that includes training and safe ways to report infractions and make it part of evaluating departments and managers.