Three days after Christmas, and four days before the New Year would have been a time to enjoy the illusion of optimism and even happiness, were it not for the duplicity of the power elite. But then this is no reason to avoid saying ‘Happy New Year’ to all the readers of the Star.
Because hope is stubborn even in the face of gloom and moral duplicity, we can still believe a new Kenya is possible. We have stuck to stubborn hope that regime or calendar change can herald a new dawn.
Kenya was rated the most optimistic country, during the first 100 days of the Narc administration in 2003. The national mood was equally orgasmic in 2010, when the country approved a new Constitution.
We supposedly entered a new era on August 27, 2010. The citizenry had reason to believe this was the new dawn.
There was hope of a rebirth after 24 years of struggle for constitutional change under the Moi regime. There was hope of a rebirth after the repeal of the one-party state in 1991. There was hope of a new dispensation after the ejection of the Kanu regime. The bungled 2005 constitutional referendum was a misstep, but we reached the gates of the new era.
During each of these historical moments, we had reason to be optimistic; a reason to hope for the best. Even pessimists — disillusioned idealists — entertained hope.
The optimistic always believe there can be a new dawn. Those dawns have been false, even the morning after Independence in 1963, or after the regime change of 2002, and the post-2010 Constitution era.
The experiences of ugali kneaders and peasants are studies in resilience. Ugali makers do not stop cooking when a cooking stick breaks. They buy a new one so that life can continue.
Peasants do not give up tending their gardens when the rains fail, and their crops have withered. The year 2016 has been particularly challenging for peasants, who rely on unpredictable rains for subsistence agriculture.
The long rains failed this year, for example, especially along the shores of Lake Victoria. Peasants planted, but the crops withered before flowering. Peasants planted again, and the rains failed. There was no harvest during the April-August season. But they still hoped lightning does not strike a tree twice.
In October, clouds were gathering but they did not produce rains other than some showers.The daring few lost their crops in November. Now, it can be confirmed the short rainy season is lost. But peasants won’t give up.
Like Kenya’s false new dawns, there is still hope that a new cooking stick may still deliver a plate of well-cooked ugali.
There is still something to celebrate though: We have lived to be caught up between another Christmas, the eve of another New Year, and the general election 2017.
Hope lingers in spite of the Jubilee regime frantically pushing for an ‘analogue’ electoral process four years after declaring its trendiness. Being digital should come with simplicity, transparency, and accountable. But partisan hawks of the status quo do not want this. We are back to the past from the future. One step forward, many backwards.
The duplicity around the Elections Amendment Act 2016, which was passed after dialogue without changes, is up for mutilation. Jubilee is pushing an amendment — new subsection 14b( 1 ) — which reads, “... The electoral commission shall put in place a complementary mechanism for identification and transmission of election results that is simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountability, and transparent to ensure that the commission complies with Article 38( 2 ) and ( 3 ) of the Constitution.”
Trust the Majority leader in the National Assembly to leap before he looks. “We are not going to hang ourselves when we can see clearly we are being taken to the hangman.”
Hopefuls for elective positions have been turned into candidates even before their parties endorse or nominate them. The IEBC is yet to graduate the many aspirants into candidates of their parties.
Something is wrong — and it’s not just semantics.