What does Jeff Koinange's K24 Stand For?
By Wanjiku of Mombasa
Present Kenya is a battered nation albeit a hopeful one. But it is not bad luck or lack of resources that is plaguing us. Take Japan for example. About 70% of Japan is forested, mountainous and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial or residential use. Yet it is the second largest economy in the world and a world leader in technology. Is there any significant intellectual difference between their executives and our own? Is Japan any more blessed with resources than we are? Any reason why Kenya cannot hit those notes in future?
Our woes are an obvious result of poor leadership, weak institutions, selfishness and impunity among a myriad other evils that cannot be listed on a single page. Our leaders have stashed our hard earned money in Swiss accounts, bought property abroad and acquired more land than their graves and those of all their future generations can ever fill. In parliament there have been thieves, murderers, drunkards, wife beaters, rapists, warlords, name it. They came, they stole but they will not conquer us. So first, I say we get over them and show them the door. Every Kenyan can and should do their part towards this.
Second we should disconnect from our leaders and work to change our personal attitudes. Leaders cannot touch our attitudes towards one another unless we let them. It is not going to be easy considering these are beliefs and attitudes framed for years through education and culture. Besides, we’ve hurt each other real bad recently. But with collective willpower it can be done. Gradually, maybe slowly, but it can be done.
Third, I dare say we embrace our ethnicity. Tribe is an identity and tribal identities are here to stay. We would best serve ourselves using ethnicity positively for personal as well as national growth. Judging from the number of inter-tribal marriages and mixed race children, the battle against negative ethnicity has been well underway on the family level. Now we take it national. Instead of fighting ethnicity, why not foster vibrant healthy competition among different cultures? Why not support each other in trade? Or intellectually? Why not learn what other communities do best and let them also learn what we do best?
Fourth let us work on the children. Get them while they’re young. It is said that if you’re thinking 1 year ahead, till a field. If you’re thinking 10 years ahead, plant a tree. If you’re thinking 100 years ahead, raise a child. Let parents and teachers teach them to be proud of their cultures and appreciate other peoples’ cultures. Recently I watched sadly as displaced children were asked to express their feelings in drawing. Most of them drew fire, machetes, bows, arrows and blood. I shudder at the thought of what seeds have been planted in their minds. We need to mend these young minds for the sake of the future.
There must be many other brilliant ideas out there. What sayest thou?