There is an often-told tale about a man with tattered clothes who was found dead in some Nairobi estate. Judging from the clothes the deceased wore and the fact that his body had obviously not seen cleansing water for a long, long, time it was easy to assume that he was one of the desperate folks who walk around city estates begging and scrounging to survive.
But an astounding find caused the thinking here to dramatically change. Carefully sewn on the insides of his shirt was Kshs 50,000—a princely sum in those days. Amazingly the post mortem showed that the poor guy had died from some complications caused by malnutrition. So why hadn’t he taken a measly Kshs 20 from his Kshs 50,000, which was the cost of a decent helping of French fries in those days, and saved his own life? The answer for those who understand the principals of wealth accumulation is simple. Taking out Kshs 20 would have meant that they no longer had 50,000 but now had 49,980 and to make matters worse, maybe they would have felt an urge for a soft drink after that. The point is that wealth is not accumulated by spending. Instead it is obtained by an individual making sacrifices.
Another more fortunate soul collapsed and was rushed to hospital where on examination doctors ordered some milk and the guy quickly came to and discovered that his hidden treasure of about Kshs 80,000 (which incidentally had been very well hidden) was missing.
Both these two gentlemen belonged to the Kikuyu community and what I have just described easily illustrates the great sacrifices which these beloved Kenyans often take to accumulate their wealth. The truth is that it is mostly never by accident or by virtue of some special priviledge or advantages as many Kenyans seem to think. This is not to say that there are no evil Kikuyus. They are very much there just as you will expect to find them in every other community in the country.
Now just imagine how a hard working Kenyan who has given so much sacrifice would feel if somebody said that they had made their wealth by unfair means? Or try and think for a moment about a now successful son who saw as a child or has heard of the struggle that the father has gone through to reach where he is. That son would not take kindly to any general sweeping statements about his community having accumulated wealth through dubious means.
This should be food for thought for many Kenyans just now.
But the same community also needs to be sensitive to the feelings of other Kenyans who do not belong to the house of Mumbi. They must realize that the clients and customers for their businesses are other Kenyans who are different from them and with different abilities, which does not mean that they are inferior or less intelligent in any way.
This can easily be the basis where our beloved nation, torn apart by the tribal demon can start to heal. Every Kenyan must urgently reach out to Kenyans on the other side of the rapidly widening chasm that must be a cause of great concern to everybody.
But instead what we are seeing is a deliberate effort by both sides to outsmart the other at all costs. All eyes are firmly fixed on 2012 or whenever it is that the next general elections will be.
What all Kenyans of goodwill need to urgently do now is to tell those hyenas who call themselves our leaders to tuliza boli (that means slow down the ball). There are times when the interests of a nation must go beyond politics and clearly this is such a time for Kenya. We have only recently seen what happens to the politics when what retired president Moi would call “cohesion of Kenyans” has not been sorted out.
Badly needed now before we can even try to go back into competitive politics is national healing and reconciliation. We as Kenyans must reach out to one another and empathize with each other before anything else. When this happens it will become clear how badly we need a nationwide truth and reconciliation initiative to address all the past injustices suffered by all Kenyans. Incidentally this is an idea that I have strongly advocated for here in Kumekucha since inception and long before the chaos we saw recently after the disputed elections.
Admittedly this will not be easy but we really do not have too many options left.
The comments area of this blog has often been said to reflect the true feeling on the ground on many issues and indeed this is the reason why so many wily operators have used this blog to gauge public opinion with various personal and mostly selfish interests in mind. In my raw notes this week I list some of these groups of people and how they use this blog to achieve their different objectives. The list will shock anybody, to say the least.
If it is true that the comments section in Kumekucha mirrors Kenya on the ground, then clearly we are in serious trouble and we must all come back to our senses before it is too late.
EXTRA: Emotional Send Off For Murdered Photographer