What a busy and hectic time it has been for us as Kenyans. From the intense general elections we had last year (two of them actually) to the many scandals we are now seeing being brought into light, we can’t seem to catch a break. However, there are great lessons to be learned from all this and they are of more importance to the youth as we are the leaders of tomorrow and there are many things that need to change.
Last year’s elections alone proved how primitive we still are when it comes to having a democratic practice as important as an election. I couldn’t engage in a debate without people telling me how my name betrays me. If this is the future of Kenyan politics, I’m not going to be part of it. What people seem not to understand is that we are facing a social class war. Not an ethnic one. The upper class are taking advantage of the lower class while the middle class have opted to keep out of it and engage in keyboard wars. The rich keep getting richer while the poor continue being poor.
It’s even shocking to see someone dying for an individual who will go to sleep in his/her luxurious home comfortably. How they even sleep at night is a mystery to me but that is not the point here. The point I’m trying to make is that this cycle needs to end. We cannot be voting for people just because they are from your ethnic background or because they are affiliated with someone from your ethnic background. That does not assure good governance by any means. In fact, our ethnic pride will be the fall of our democracy. This is even true for black people in general.
Our biggest problem, as black people, is that we are busy fighting ourselves instead of being a united front. Just look at the black people living in the United States. They keep talking about racism all the time but they will still kill each other because they are divided into various crews and gangs. Back here in Kenya, we are fighting each other over ethnic supremacy. Lord help us.
Probably the best thing that we have in our country’s democracy but is now acting as a double-edged sword for us. Given that more power is given to the local authorities in the counties, we are now seeing cases of power mismanagement, rampant looting and poor leadership in general. It’s almost as if we are yet to understand how devolution really works after 8 years of its implementation in the constitution.
So, it might be in its infancy stages but there are things that need to be noted. One of them is that development projects in respective counties are closer to the public than ever. This means in the next 10 years aspiring candidates should not be spearheading their campaigns with infrastructure development projects. In fact, it shouldn’t be a thing in 2018 but Kenya’s a third world country so . Given that these initiatives are now being brought closer to the regular citizen, residents should be part of the county budget planning, follow up on running projects and ensure proper running and management of public funds. I mean, it’s part of their rights but we are busy playing the tribal card.
Corruption isn’t even the proper term for what is happening in the country. Looting is. There is rampant looting happening in almost all government offices. If you’re an avid reader of the newspaper like me, you may have noticed a trend of all these government initiatives having inflated prices which makes the excess money get pocketed by the culprits. Sure, there have been many infrastructure developments in five years than it was ever during Moi’s era but whatever is happening behind the scenes is worrying. We have learned thieves in the government. Gone are the days of having just corrupt idiots who steal without thinking about the consequences. We now have thieves with calculated moves. You could say they are evolving.
The problem with all this can be traced back to the Goldenberg scandal. Remember when some money was stolen and no one seemed to be so concerned with getting justice? I believe the problem with all this corruption and looting is because of the public’s non-involvement. It’s actually non-existent. The only time we only react is when the deal already went down. I mean, who is ensuring fair use of people’s taxes in these government offices? Sure, you might say there are some Kenyans out there exposing these acts but it’s everyone’s job to ensure proper running of the government. Btw, it must suck to be a member of the National Youth Service with all the money looted from them.
The best is always saved for the last. In this case, the worst of the worst. In the near future, there will be a coal factory running in Lamu. If you’re an environmentalist (like me again) you know that’s not good. It isn’t even recommended in today’s world. One wonders if the Ministry of Energy doesn’t know anything about the Sustainable Development Goals. Whatever deal they made with China goes completely against the said goals.
What’s even worse is that the Kenyan government is considering nuclear energy. Germany and Japan decided to shut down their nuclear plants as they are unable to sustain the enormous risks that come with the extraction of that energy. Those are first world countries making such decisions. What will Kenya do better than them? How will they manage the nuclear waste? We can’t even manage our own sewage but we’re already considering nuclear energy. What??
My big question is why are we even going such lengths for some road and railway construction? Why agree to such deals? Are we that broke? Of course, we are because some people have decided to steal money from our pockets and plunge us into more debt. I just don’t get it.
There are other issues also worth mentioning like our importing crisis. We are literally importing everything nowadays. The local industry is dying because of this and the government seems not to care about how it will affect our economy. Our local radio channels even prefer Nigerian music to Kenyan music. That’s how messed up we are right now. What we should all be seeing to this point is that we got ourselves into this mess. It’s a really big mess and it will take more than a few voices to bring everything to light. I love Kenya, I really do. I wish to see us being the hub of economic excellence and future innovation. However, we are nowhere close. I should have brought up the big mess in our education system but I could talk forever since I’m a campus student and I’m affected directly.
My message is simple: Wake up. We need to wake up and take our power back. At this rate our country is going to the dogs and it’s always embarrassing to see people pointing fingers when things go wrong. I believe the next general election will be a turning point for Kenya. A good turning point for that matter. However, we could stick to the same old ethnic supremacy nonsense, same old looting and same old keyboard wars.