I am Kenyan - To many Kenyans that also means that they will automatically check my last name. Its become second nature to inquire of people's second names and somehow the assumption is that this surname will automatically inform the person's psyche'. Stereotyping, ethnic profiling, these are all words that can easily describe that attitude, that approach to life.
Its illegal in Kenya to discriminate along ethnic lines. Our constitution is categorical about this, you may not discriminate against anyone and deny them their social and fundamental rights based on their ethnicity. But everywhere you go, every single person, will distinguish you by your ethnicity, your last name, your surname.
It begs the question really, what is the use of a constitution that no one uses? Kenyans keep complaining that their Members of Parliament are truly reluctant to implement the new constitution, Kenyans are really mad at the two principles for subverting due process in the matter of nominations for the Chief Justice (Feb 2011), and now Kenyans are mad at the clergy for picking on Dr. Willy Mutunga for being nominated while wearing a stud earring. But how many Kenyans are practicing and believing in the spirit of the constitution? How many Kenyans are really and truly looking past the surname?
Lets face it, the constitution of Kenya is a national document that will only become a national matter when everyone in this nation takes it seriously, loves it, embraces its ideals, its laws and its promises as we had hoped when we fought to have it drafted for over 20 years.
No single ethnicity delivered that promise of hope, that fundamental writ. Not just one ethnicity, but all Kenyans.
It serves us all then to read this constitution over and over again, to imbed it in our minds, in our hearts, to write it on our walls, to teach our children to recite our national prayer our national ANTHEM, until we finally deliver to each and every Kenyan that fundamental right - NO DISCRIMINATION.
Yes my fellow Kenyans, there are rights, there are privileges and there are RESPONSIBILITIES OF EVERY KENYAN CITIZEN. Be responsible, look past my surname, today and everyday. Rise up! you are KENYAN, and we are not a nation of last names, first names or middle names, but a nation of people who live, work and survive together!
For better understanding each of you please download a copy of the Kenya Constitution here, and read it, please.
on a side note - a surname is the name of whoever is your "sire 'or 'master' - my surname indicates who my dad is, not who I am. LOL!