Today I felt my blood boil when I saw a Facebook comment of one, Otieno claiming that after 40 years they had decided to export at least one Gold medal to Uganda. He claims that the Ugandan Gold medal winner, Stephen Kiprotich is actually a Kenyan who was bought to earn some Gold for Uganda. Sense and reason sailed in when I saw that no one had graced his comment with a response.
So there is a Dutch Kipsang, a Kenyan Kipchoge, a Ugandan Kiprotich, etc. It may very well be the same ethnicity. And while we acknowledge that, there came a day when the borders were drawn, a map made. These too kept changing. There was once a time when the border between Uganda and Kenya lay east of Lake Naivasha and in fact none of Lake Victoria was in Kenya. This was all part of the scramble and partition of Africa. (In which the African Ethnic migration routes and settlements were given no consideration)
So, I think if we start to quibble about which “Kip” is Kenyan and which is Uganda it is just a question of who was visiting family when the borders were drawn and got caught on the ‘wrong’ side of the map. There will always, always be ‘Othieno’ and ‘Otieno’ separated by borders but both will be Luo.
The discussion of who lies on what side of the border is one very contentious minefield of rival opinions but whichever way you look at it there was no plan or method to it. There seems to be no conclusive reasoning as to why borders were drawn where they were or why they were changed several times to be what they are today. All over Africa peoples of the same Ethnic group, tribe or even family were separated by borders drawn in the age of imperialism. There will always be Ugandans with Kenyan roots and Kenyans with Ugandan roots; Rwandans with Ugandan roots and the reverse will be true. I will even hazard to say that Burundians and Rwandans are the same peoples only differentiated by their borders and historical differences those borders have ensured through the years.
In my opinion one cannot deny that there is a direct correlation between border boundaries and socio-economic status. If it were not so, this latest grumble of which Kiprotich is Kenyan and which is Ugandan would not arise. But those of us who aren’t already claiming to be Ugandan because of my pal Stevo’s recent shiny gold medal, are already thinking what campaigns he can run for us that will attract sales and keep our pockets full. A different kind of scramble in a different age.