The Kenya I Want: Reimagining Kenya
Growing up, I would often get frustrated that some things were the way they were (still do). I remember hating using public transport as that meant being squeezed, stepped on and suffocating in the overly packed buses. The dirty Nairobi streets were a put off and the insecurity was a constant worry. The corruption and politicians in the news were nauseating. It’s 2017 and it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Politics has become a dirty word and more about keeping up with the reality ”showesque” of politicians and their cronies. It has also become a limiting word as it focuses on elections and governance, leaving out the different ways power manifests and asserts itself. For those who care, it can be exhausting having to keep up with and raise alarm over the ever ongoing scandals and breaking of the electorate’s trust. Still, this thankless work must continue as to give in to apathy is to give up on the dream that Kenya can be governed with integrity, that the people’s rights can be respected and the people’s prosperity can be put first.
The first step in getting to the Kenya we want is to challenge our imagination. If we cannot imagine a better country, we cannot build one. Imagination is not rooted in denial but in an acknowledgement of the failures and the work required to get things right. This means that we must acknowledge those who have suffered and not only seek justice for them, but also reparations. This also means we must audit the systems in place and get to work knowing that the work will be brutal but that there are no shortcuts to get to where we want to go.
Where is it that we want to go? Who is it that we want to be? The attempts to force unity through things like trying to find a national dress or a national sound or even a national prayer breakfast will not work because they are bandaids. We have lived in denial for too long and to be truly free, we must face and see ourselves as we are first, before we see who we could be.
The Kenya I want is one where tribe is something to be celebrated, not used as a divisive weapon or denied with shame. The Kenya I want is one where leaders are chosen on merit and not based on tribe or wealth. The Kenya I want is one where our true history is taught and recognition that some of those we hail as heroes weren’t heroes at all and that we need to recognize those who were. The Kenya I want is one where leadership is treated as an honour and leadership with integrity is the norm. The Kenya I want is one where the corrupt are met with the full force of the law and the consequences of their corruption. The Kenya I want is one where women are viewed as full human beings and can run for political office free of violence. The Kenya I want is one where education that’s based on thinking and questioning, not amassing of certificates, is encouraged.
The Kenya I want is one where the youth are given platforms to speak and engage and learn, not used as henchmen by the rich and powerful. The Kenya I want is one where the poor have access to justice because the course of justice isn’t frustrated by bribes and interference. The Kenya I want is one where artistes can create with no fear that their art will be banned for challenging the status quo. The Kenya I want is one where people get jobs because they qualify for them and not because they are the right tribe or know someone. The Kenya I want is one where elections do not create anxiety and threaten the peace of the country because a few people won’t let the people decide for themselves.
The Kenya I want is one where taxes are actually spent on developing the country and not developing politicians’ dream homes and businesses. The Kenya I want is one where drought and floods do not lead to the unnecessary deaths of citizens because disaster management systems are always in place. The Kenya I want is one where land/real estate fraud isn’t a constant story in the news. The Kenya I want is one where security isn’t a preserve of the rich and the police service is for the people’s benefit. The Kenya I want is one where the police are well paid and free to bring to book those breaking the law without interference.
The Kenya I want is one where doctors, teachers, lecturers and other civil servants are paid their due wages. The Kenya I want is one where there are enough hospitals and working equipment and universal healthcare is available to all Kenyans. The Kenya I want is one where the living wages reflect the food and other essentials prices. The Kenya I want is one where politicians don’t wait till campaign season to fulfill their promises of working infrastructure. The Kenya I want is one governed less with propaganda and more with actual work on the ground. The Kenya I want is one in which hate speech by politicians and their cronies is actually punished. The Kenya I want is one where innovators are celebrated as they are creating change instead of the tenderpreneurs who take and produce nothing.
Active citizenship means more than just voting but also means keeping leaders accountable. This Kenya is one where the spirit of those that love their country and want to see it prosper continues to live on. This Kenya is one that lives up to the dreams of those who fought for it to be an independent nation. This Kenya is one we can be proud to pass on to our children and know that they will carry on our work. This Kenya calls on all of us to take responsibility for its future.http://www.mwendengao.com/2017/05/25/the-kenya-i-want-reimagining-kenya/Mwende saysactive citizenship,Elections,Kenya,politics,Tribalism