Tribalism is generally regarded as a concept wherein people think or behave in loyalty to or interest of a particular ethnic group, other than their country, any other social group or friends. While it may have its positive side, its potential to create disunity and conflicts among a national population, owing to the special emphasis it places on a particular tribe, is something that always exists.
Recent times in Liberia have occasioned the emergence of tribal politics, especially from a number of high profile public officials of our country’s central region led by Representative George Mulbah of Bong County. The advocacy being propounded by Representative Mulbah and others points to the Kpelle Tribe and Liberian Presidency in October 2017- a suggestion that it was now time for the Kpelle People of Liberia to take the Liberian Presidency.
One justification given by the Bong County Representative and co-advocates of such tribal politics is that since the inception of the Liberian Nation, a hundred and sixty-eight years ago, the Kpelle-Speaking tribe of Liberia continues to be “king makers” in the country without any tangible political reward, and that it was now time to exert all efforts with the campaign everywhere the Kpelle people exist in the country for the realization of a “Kpelle President of Liberia” come 2017.
While Representative George Mulbah et al may have an understandable cause for the largest tribe in Liberia, the danger of such tribal politics is not only the political acrimony, which characterizes their advocacy among other tribal groups in the country, but its associated national conflicts, probably as the result of political and economic marginalization.
It is no secret that there is always value in diversity wherein the ideas and wisdoms are amalgamated for the so purpose of fostering national unity, strength and continuous growth and development; and had we, as a people, initially made this the hallmark of our national destiny, by now, the issue of tribalism, tribal politics, or corruption would have been far below our own progress as a nation.
Liberia’s problem has never been and is not about ‘sectional or tribal politics’, but NATIONAL PATRIOTISM- love for our nation and love among ourselves no matter which ethnic group we belong. The fact that we lack the foregoing, we will continue to remain the way we are.
And unless ‘we change our minds and attitudes’ towards each other; toward our country and its God-given abundant natural resources, we will continue to brag even when there is a “Kpelle President of Liberia” as Representative George Mulbah and others want come 2017 and thereafter.