The Battle for the Kenyan Heart, Part 2

by on Jan.27, 2018, under Leadership, Politics & Patriotism

This article is a continuation of “The Battle for the Kenyan Heart, Part 1”, published on December 31, 2017.

Below are the 7 aspects that need to be addressed to put Kenya on the right path of peace and prosperity.

  1. Corruption and wastage. A while back I visited Marakwet and at about 7 am my host invited to witness ahead operation at a neighbour’s house. The patient sat motionless on a stool in the veranda while the ‘doctor’ with chisel-like and hammer like tools cut out the part of the skull that had cracked without anaesthesia. As if that was not enough torture, after the ‘delicate’ operation the patient walked for miles in search of a tetanus injection to prevent infections. Some vermin in our amidst steal money that could have helped the Marakwet resident. I know the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who steal money that is meant for the vulnerable in our midst like the resident of Marakwet, but before they get to hell, Mr. President, your work here on earth is to introduce them to hell. How do we explain the importance of a government to a mother whose son studies under a tree and without lunch, yet her government spend millions of shillings on office tea and Mandazi, and other billions are spent on buying government vehicles, some of which rot in the government yards if not conveniently disposed off at throwaway prices.
  2. Tribalism: Tribes are not the problem or the source of the problem and as such the solution is not to establish ways undermine them. The reality is that sometimes tribes are weaponised in pursuit of political power but this in itself is not a proof that tribes are fundamentally defective. The question at the heart of tribalism is, ‘why does tribalism exist?’ Given the importance of this question to your subjects, it worth your time to solve it. Tribalism is fueled by unavailability and/or unfair access to resources and historical injustices. Today Kenyans may use tribes as the vehicle to access resources but tomorrow they may use clan, gender, age and other difference to achieve their purpose, hence, Mr. President as you solve the problem of tribalism you must ask why does it exist and how do we solve it in a way it won’t mutate into other forms. Despite the fact that a huge part of what is regarded as tribalism is a question of access to resources, there is a small wrong with tribes that need to be made right: lack of thorough exposure to other tribes. We need to learn and appreciate why different tribes espouse different cultures.
  3. Constitution, constitutionalism and construction amendments: The constitution amendments may only serve a purpose if they are aimed at curing lacuna in our supreme law, like, what happens if for any reason elections are not held in the stipulated time? It may even be a natural occurrence that may stop an election, how do we deal with this? Amending the constitution will not solve the problem of animosity between tribes, if the reason to amend the constitution is to offer more positions to more tribes, then this can only be a solution if we create 43 plus permanent seats at every level of government or put in place a rotational arrangement that will ensure that each tribe gets power. If this sounds ridiculous why the creation of one or three positions of prime minister isn’t ridiculous? What happens to the other tribes, keeping in mind that Kenya is made up of over 43 tribes and not just the big ten tribes. The long-term solution is to build systems that ensure that any citizen who meets the requirements of chapter six of the constitution and she/he is willing to serve can ascend to power. Merit must be established, sometimes with a blend of affirmative action, beyond speeches and documents, as the determining factor of who serves in which position. You have to lead the nation to find and entrench the spirit of constitutionalism as a cure to short-term political expediencies.
  4. Politics and elections: The entire 2017 was spent on politics at the expense of other pertinent issues like economic development. I know some nations like the US do politics throughout while other nations like the UK do politics for about three months in five years and both nations are successful. Kenya is yet to find what works for it. The main problem is not just the period, it what we do and how we do it. As such we need to relook into party politics and election management well before elections appear on the horizon. 2018 and not 2021 is a good time to solve all electoral challenges.
  5. Historical injustices: historical injustices are only historical to those who never experienced them, to the victims and their families they are injustices, they are daily realities. At the heart of these injustices is the land question and unresolved killings. Injustices must be resolved in order for the victims and their families to move on and also deny oxygen to opportunistic politicians who move around the country breeding hate in communities purporting that if they are given power they will solve the past injustices. Even before we solve historical injustices, we are already committing future injustices, our counterpart on this planet are expanding territories by planting the flag on the moon and conquering space while we cannot agree on the use the 580,000 square Km.
  6. Devolution: I know many think that more financial resources is the panacea for devolution, I do not agree with them fully. Besides the financial question, there are questions of accountability and the quality and diversity of human capital in the county must be addressed. As the media, NGOs and politicians channel their attention to the national government, the county governments are emptying coffers funds into their pockets while spending the remaining peanuts on white elephants and pet projects. Devolution must be guided back on track since it is the only viable vehicle for national development and prosperity.
  7. Development: Dr. Kituyi once reminded us that as a nation we were spending too much time and energy fighting over a small cake, we should use the same energy or even more to bake a bigger cake. Mr. President, you understand this but unless we all understand it, your leadership is incomplete. At the end of the day, an expanding economy is the best bet for improving lives of Kenyan, hence, whatever else we do, we have to keep our eyes on the economy. As a nation, we need to revisit vision 2030 and reaffirm our priorities, but also discuss the source and cost of funding our developmental projects.

Mr. President, it is my prediction that if the above issues are prioritized, they will set the nation on a firm foundation for prosperity.

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