THEIR KENYA

Kenya, independent since 1963, with seamless power transitions that have seen only three men preside over its state of affairs to date. She is an island of peace, devoid of any civil wars or coup d’états. A stable country if you ask its leaders, a country that is progressive and sensitive to the needs of its citizens, where the quality of life is good for the citizens. The famous free primary school milk program and the free education policy are more than enough testament to this.

In the eyes of those who govern her, that is Kenya for you. They are right you know, when you compare beautiful Kenya with other countries in Africa that have had annual regime changes through coups and assassinations, Kenya is indeed a bastion of stability, only Gabon, Zimbabwe and Libya have been led by fewer leaders over the past 40 years. In their Kenya, the leaders lead and the followers follow, no questions asked. That is their interpretation of stability. They say that instability arises when the followers start doubting the words and wisdom of those who lead. That is how they explain Somalia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Bissau and Cote d’ Ivoire.

Leaders in Kenya are the law, regardless of the fact that there exists a set of laws known as the Constitution of Kenya, which are meant to govern the land. In the leaders Kenya, chest thumping and arrogance is equated to power and this explains why the Constitution is treated with the dignity of a tattered pocket sized dictionary. Their edicts have seen them carry out evictions in the name of protecting the “environment”, banning individuals from setting foot in point A or B “in the interest of public safety” and declaring themselves fit to decide the interests of the nation even when faced with scandals.

They are such warriors who would prefer fighting their battles to the end; like the late great Omar Bongo, they would rather die in power than accept any shortcomings on their part. How would we expect them to have any shortcomings when they know that they have none? They receive tax free incomes, drive top of the range cars, their lives are perfect, they are perfection personified. In their perfect world there are no crises, just small problems that need not be blown out of proportion.

With their perfect vision, they constantly neglect that tiny, minute, irritating blind spot that seems not to bother them. A blind spot consisting of inflammatory statements, corruption, insecurity, environmental degradation, poor and displaced persons. They are so decisive and divisive in their speech, as evidenced by all the hullabaloo revolving aroundt The Hague, so indecisive in their actions, as demonstrated by their efforts unite the country.

For four and a half years of their five year term, their Kenya is good to them. They remember our Kenya during the last six months of that term; that’s when they need us to return them to their Kenya. That’s not right.

 

OUR KENYA

Our Kenya is vibrant, diverse, innovative, and entrepreneurial but their Kenya impacts negatively on our Kenya. Their indecisiveness and divisive talk has the rest of the country living on the edge, debating their next move. While they are the masters of double, triple or quadruple speak, our Kenya is made up of people who walk their talk, people who know that actions speak louder than words.

With the free lessons in how not to lead a nation broadcast in the print and electronic media on a daily basis, we are learning vital lessons on how to address the issues at hand in a sober manner without reverting to our tribal and class cocoons. This may appear like a herculean task but one day we will be successful and the country will be back on the long abandoned road to prosperity. This is a respectful, God fearing Kenya where the resilient citizens toil hard everyday just to earn an income while contributing to nation building. We pay taxes, experience water shortages, mind numbing traffic jams, constant power outages but you will not hear us complaining. Instead we pick up the pieces and soldier on no matter the circumstances.

The Kenya that I live in is progressive and tolerant; its citizens view each other as brother and sister despite our different ethnic backgrounds. Having witnessed the 2008 post election violence first hand, there cannot be any room for hate or discrimination. We must all get along despite our different ethnic, political, gender and religious backgrounds.

Heck! My circle of friends is as diverse as the rainbow!

The Kenya that I live in tolerates inter ethnic marriages, allows women to be in positions of power and influence, allows the youth and society in general to think outside the box and earn a living pursuing non traditional professions related to their passions and natural talents, and not necessarily related to their educational backgrounds. This is not to say that education is not important.

Corruption is the blemish of their Kenya and they insist on passing the baton to our Kenya by reneging on their pledges to serve the nation honestly and with integrity. They pass the baton when they play the politics of greed that sees them amass wealth in embarrassing proportions. They seem to forget that leadership is servitude, well, we in our Kenya are well aware of the fact that a leader is supposed to serve and that while in a position of leadership there cannot be any room for corruption. We refuse to receive the baton of corruption and other ills being forced into our hands.

Our Kenya has a unity of purpose; together we are one and as one there is only so much we can achieve, progress. Our Kenya is one Kenya…but their Kenya bogs us down.

© Mike Kwambo | blog| twitter|

 

Image courtesy of Mutua Matheka