I recently indulged a senior professional whose career has spun decades in the political space. Why? Because in the wake of my country’s wobbly return to ‘normalcy’, things are still not ‘okay’ and in full disclosure, will they ever be really okay again, or in the very least, the same old Kenya we used to know? I think not!
Much as I tried to convince myself it was but a mere intellectual tête-à-tête , it really was just an undercover quest for hope. Hope that there might be something to look forward to. An assurance that despite the troubled murky waters we attempt to sail in, we still have something to hold on to, in proud statesmanship and unwavering patriotism. Grim!
“You know Chichi, in my experience, I have come upon the realization that a people get a leader well deserving of them,” he bellowed. After-which I immediately burst out in a fit of laughter as if my reflexes were right on cue. He looked at me puzzled at first and proceeded with a frazzled, “…I see how you can get there. But really it’s not a laughing matter. If you think about it, you cannot quite pinpoint a leader who’s not reflective of his people. And that is part of why the west has always been dismissive of and denigrated Africa and its environs.”
Later,I reflected upon his words and it hit me…We really are our biggest issue in this country!
Think about it. We keep complaining about how corrupt our leaders are,how weary we’ve grown of them and how we need to change things. We will scream about electoral reforms, shut down internal media for falsifying news stories and even launch full on twitter attacks trolling whole nations for simple misunderstandings, in retribution of underwhelming entertainers who we knew very well, as in previous, classic fashion would let us down. Kenyans…Sigh!
We reward stolen tax-payer billions and overpriced-under delivered ‘infrastructural projects’ with gubernatorial positions. We rebuke victims of GBV, ridicule them on every platform ever invented and craft jokes as accompaniments. And boy do we hate feminists here.
It is not enough that we ALL bear the brunt of social and economic injustices, we have to go on and be sharply divisive in our speech and actions because our ‘waheshimiwas’ told us to. Who cursed us?
Hunger. Famine and drought. HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Diabetes and Cancer have become death/bankruptcy sentences,because dignified and affordable healthcare has been made a reserve of the less than 3% of the who’s who in this country. Water rationing in the capital since time immemorial. Sanitation, an enviable luxury to most in our vast slums. What is education when lecturers are almost always on strike and universities stay closed most of the year? And don’t even get me started on those horrendously absurd tricks they’re calling educational reforms. A ministry of foreign affairs that never lacks funding nor unwavering presidential support, but our youth suffer in detention in foreign lands for years. Inflated costs of living and 1 in every 2 unemployed Kenyans around you at any one given time. No roads, no electricity in more than half the country_ 50+ yrs after ‘independence’. I weep for you my land!
Which way nduguzanguni?
Still, we will elect the same people who disastrously fall short of their leadership titles and continue to make a strong case for why they should have NEVER been given such roles and responsibilities to begin with. None the less, we are Kenyans and we never learn. Rather, we refuse to learn.
Truth be told: Raila Odinga’s socialist politics WILL NOT deliver electoral justice, or you know, rise to the plate of his messianic promises of milk and honey. Can’t. Not without strategy and swift action. Neither will Uhuru Kenyatta’s outfit bring an end to corruption or even positively contribute to common mwanachi’s living standards. To even imply that he’ll be able to unite a divided country with all and sundry only half convinced of the credibility of his legitimacy is a stretch. Not unless he and his whole team, yes! Whole team, (hustlers included), make a 360 shift and reassure us of their commitment to change and progression by action and not apologist PR! NO! Don’t just be a whistleblower, you’re the president. We need to see things getting done. Surprise us! Recover stolen/missing monies, put people in jail, make them accountable, fire culpable individuals, ensure diversity when hiring. Do something Mr. President. Something!
Further disclaimer: There is no savior. There is no messiah. There is no Canaan. These are things we can get for and by ourselves and whichever way you look at it, we, us, you and I, we create the country we want. We choose the kind of leadership we want, we choose whether or not our systems will work and if our policies will have an impact. We can conquer hate, foster peace and live as one people. We are our own hope. We are our society, our future, our today and our now. So if OUR country is a joke, WE are the punchline! Unless WE say enough is a damn nough, we will forever wallow in this hopeless excuse of survival that we’re calling a life.
And if you think #TanoTena was truly the way to go, brace yourself. We shall revisit this conversation in 2022, which is sooner than you think I assure you. For now however, as we made our beds, so must we lie on them. Buckle up, it’ll be a long 5 years and as predictably gruesome, draining and treacherous as we all thought it would be.
Bon Voyage :)!