If there is one single thing that rules the Kamba most and everything they do including in politics, then it has to be the crab mentality. What is the crab mentality?
If you have caught crabs then you know that once you have caught at least two then you needn’t worry about them escaping. This is because they will always prevent each other from getting out first. Wikipedia puts it very well thus;
“Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase "if I can't have it, neither should you." The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Singly, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless "king of the hill" competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that of a group that will attempt to "pull down" (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of jealousy or competitive feelings.
This term is broadly associated with short-sighted, non-constructive thinking rather than a unified, long-term, constructive mentality. It is also often used colloquially in reference to individuals or communities attempting to "escape" a so-called "underprivileged life", but kept from doing so by others attempting to ride upon their coat-tails or those who simply resent their success…”
Historically Kamba leaders have always been extremely jealous of each other and have gone to great lengths to finish each other, using all kinds of ploys and even witchcraft. Any half intelligent observer would wonder why the community has never realized that supporting each other would be much more beneficial to all.
Paul Ngei a prominent politician from Ukambani in his day was arch rivals with Mulu Mutisya another prominent politician in the area at around the same time. The differences between the two got so serious that they physically fought on several occasions. Today the rivalry between Charity Ngilu and Kalonzo Musyoka is legendary and all efforts to unite the two have come to naught. Interestingly both were in the YES camp in the recently concluded referendum and yet clearly the two were extremely uncomfortable in each others company during the major rallies and meetings where they had to share the same platform. I am willing to bet you any amount that the two never share a seat close to each other during cabinet meetings.
This inexplicable rivalry and crab mentality spreads well beyond politics into the business world. I have been in numerous situations where things have changed dramatically with another Kamba immediately they realize that I too have some Kamba blood in me.
Indeed this is one of the reasons why Machakos town (the first inland capital of the British protectorate that became Kenya) has remained very much behind in development. Kambas would rather an outsider comes into the city and prospers in business rather than one of their own. In fact there are numerous cases where many have gone to great lengths to ensure that one of their own does not prosper.
This is very sad and something that the Kamba community needs to find a way of facing and eradicting if they are to benefit from the coming political dispensdation and the numerous opportunities that will come with it.
Read this bizarre Kumekucha post about Witchcraft and C-files episode In Kenyan President's Office that further illustrates the Kamba way of doing things.
This Weekend special continues next weekend. Until then I will welcome ideas, suggestions criticisms etc. anything to improve my earth-shattering conclusion of this series.
Previous articles in this series:
Part 1: What future for sleepy Kenyan community?
Part 2: What is the true origin of all the suffering?
Part 3: Dangerous votes from Ukambani
Part 4: Terrible crab mentality that rules the Kamba
Part 5: Kamba athleticism and other deadly talents
Part 6: Kamba constituency that is very different from the rest
Part 7: Predictions of a coming Kamba president?