It has been 52 years since independence and Kenya has come of age.
5 years ago, we voted for a new constitution. This was a momentous decree that came as hope for millions of Kenyans, young and old. It came as a fresh of breath air to end the long tyranny of dictatorship and authoritarian rule that Kenyans were accustomed to.
Despite this titanic change in our lives, Kenyans have not gained faith in their leaders. We are still crippled by manacles of corruption, venality and bribery. Kenyans are still languishing in poverty, desolate and numbed by our leaders’ greed and insatiable appetite for self-interest. It is a shameful condition where politics and business are so intertwined that the line between public office and interests to channel funds to one’s enterprise cannot be drawn. So insensitized that we poke fun at ourselves when the joke is really on us. The audacity of pricing a ‘biro’ at $85, when close to half of the population receives less than $1 a day in income for living expenses. The nerves and boldness to stay in public offices with such impunity since past regressions set precedence for future ‘convictions’. It is not just unacceptable, but immoral, wicked and iniquitous for any leadership, past or incumbent not to account for public funds, save their source of wealth and opulence.
Kenya has become the true embodiment of the Boiling Frog story. The premise that a frog placed in boiling water will jump out to save its life. However, the same frog placed in cold water that is slowly heated never perceives the danger and is cooked to death. We have become anaesthetized by the daily stories of corrupt leadership that thrives in impunity and lawlessness. The lack of accountability and poor governance has reached unprecedented levels, yet we seem least bothered with the plight of our future and generations to come.
I refuse to believe that this is the Kenya we want. I refuse to suppose that our moral fiber has completely degenerated. The common mwananchi is true to his/her morals, patriotic to their nation and with the correct leadership, I believe Kenya can be great again. All Kenyans want is a prosperous nation where all men and women are treated equal before the law and true governance, prosperity and social cohesion gives future generations hope and opportunity for greatness.
I need to remind Kenyans of the true urgency of now. To quote and adopt from Martin Luther King Jr, ‘There is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of corruption to the sunlit path of good governance and prosperity.’
The uprisings we have seen in Arab countries and other nations of the world are not immune to Kenya. It comes a time when the youth and citizens of our country must stand to true principles and say ‘Enough is enough’. Resourceful protest and activism need not be violent, but a resolution and tenacity in each one of us that this is not what we bargained for from our leadership. This is not what we voted in the new constitution.
I believe Kenya can be great again. A dream that I believe will happen in our generation.
A time when Kenyan leaders will embody the spirit of ‘servant leadership’ and live to their true creed of “Civil Service”; that a visit to a public office will not just be a pleasant experience, but a true service without the need for ‘kitu-kidogo’.
A time when Leaders won’t have to spend millions to get into public office with the single intent of amassing wealth and draining public coffers; that election into public office will be based on ideologies, principles and philosophies well communicated to mwananchi to cast their vote.
A time when Mwangi and Mutisya, Kamau and Kajwang, Kerubo and Keitanny will be able to sit together in brotherhood and sisterhood to celebrate their diversity and culture; that each will embody their cultural differences as a strength and treasure for our great nation.
A time when Kenya’s entrepreneurial nature will be harnessed through formal, legitimate and innovative business philosophy for true economic prosperity of our nation; that this prosperity will make our lives better, offer employment, reduce poverty and give hope for generations to come.
I believe there is hope in Kenya.
Hope that the youth of our nation can make the changes we aspire and live to see them in our generation.
Hope that a new leadership in Kenya will emerge that has more interest in its people than plain egotistical, self-centered and arrogant control that we have seen in the past decades.
Hope that the youthful masses constituting more than 75% of the electorate will heed to wisdom of their conscience and lead at the front-line with their vote as the primary weapon of change.
Hope that Kenyans will see beyond short campaign outbursts of politicians seeking votes during elections and fighting tooth and nail to accomplish their family legacy of ‘aspirational’ leadership.
And when this happens, generations will be grateful for true service leadership of our nation. We will look back and put their ideals together with Dedan Kimathi, Robert Ouko, JM Kariuki, Koitalel Arap Samoei, Tom Mboya, Jomo Kenyatta and others who have left indelible mark of patriotism in our country.
I believe and hope that Kenya will be great again, one day!
Dr Chomba Chuma