WHITHER KENYA


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  • At times I feel like giving up on Kenya, but I cannot. I love Kenya more than any other. I feel we have on of the best nations on earth. The problem is controversies after another seem to dog this nation at every turn. We always seem to have a problem with one another especially on ethnic grounds. Growing up during the height of KANU’s arrogance during Moi regime I thought that the problem in Kenya lied in the people in power and particularly the system sycophants and apologists. Like many Kenyans I had a feeling that if somehow KANU could be dethroned all Kenyans problems will be gone. When NARC under Mwai Kibaki came into power in 2002 I was one of the most optimistic persons amongst the many in Kenya that earned us a world reputation in optimism. I felt the end of Kenya’s problems and manna may somehow start falling. Well we have had several good changes and we have been building up, but  we still  have a long way to go. History also teaches me something. Deep societal issues bringeth the leaders and the culture that you see anywhere in the world, Kenya included.
    I now see and understand that Kenya’s problems weren’t Moi or KANU much as the system was part of the mix. The issues did not begin with Moi coming to power, not at all. Kenya’s history into pre-colonial and colonial times through independence to date has contributed to what we have. At the same time global issues have also had its part on Kenya particularly the cold wars of the West versus East of the world. Moreover, so much poverty and under-development is part of the contributors to the current political dispensation. Politics of exclusion and hate has imports somewhere.  Now when you see that we seem determined to hate one another is not just about playing politics, there are underlying issues. It is not just about individuals, the society creates people and the culture formation.
    Looking at the Presidential elections patterns since 1992 you can discern that we have issues with one another ethnically. One ethnic group or some of them fears the others on matters state power and what that power can or not do. We have ingrained fears or mistrust that the other party will not do well to us or will exclude us or have done this or that crime before. If you look at how the colonial regime governed in Kenya it was through divide and rule tactics and stoking ethnic animosity as part of governing template. We have seem to feel that this is the copy that that can be used against one another. This is part of the reason devolution was felt to cure the immense powers of the Presidency in dispensing power and resources. Still it looks the problems persist as there is fear on different parties on what power would be used to do including in allocating resources in a skewed manner. How this will be healed is a matter of conjecture.
    Looking at events after the August 2017 elections and presidential petitions you can gather that tribal feelings run deep across Kenyan communities. Everything political and benefits associated with politics takes tribal undertones. This in part informs why fighting graft in Kenya is a tough call as it also rhyme  political ethnic dimensions coupled with the corrupt nature of the operating environment. We are a society that glorify wealth and more so if it’s acquired by one of our own ethnically. Indeed wealth no matter how acquired is part of the pride in Kenyan society. Of course every normal person loves a lot of wealth. Yet while glorifying and even possibly rewarding corruption as a society we still expect somehow magically so many things will happen positively and rapidly to make us better economically. We still believe that someone must sort our problems out no matter what. When we elect individuals to whatever position we want to be quickly rewarded back including from his or her own wealth. I have accompanied several elected people including MPs and have always wondered how they manage to float above the many demands some of extreme nature based on the huge numbers that keep demanding. Yet what do you expect from a society many are poor and expect handouts besides solving many of their challenges that include providing jobs and even basics for their living. It’s a tough call.
    So as people protest against the Supreme court ruling and others support it, there are serious fissures in our society that cannot be wished away. We have issues to resolve if we have to live as a united country. But we have diseases of tribalism and corruption which need cure by all means. This means we must address issues of poverty and lack of opportunities (numerous of them are needed) equitably across the country. Without curing this plus the risky environment we are living in with huge unemployment problem that keep rearing its ugly head, we have huge challenges ahead. The political conundrum we seem to ignore is yet not solved. But as always, where there is a will there is a way.
    Harrison  Mirage  Ikunda
    Nairobi
    The Writer is a Researcher and Consultant

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