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November 20, 2018

G-Spot: Whatever the new year brings for Kenya will be up to us in the end

Eastlanders usher the new year at Charina bar in Umoja
Eastlanders usher the new year at Charina bar in Umoja

Monday sees the start of a new year, unless you follow the Ethiopian calendar, or that of one of a handful of a cultures from around the world, including those from China, Iran, parts of India, as well as the Islamic and Jewish calendars.

However, with the world dominance of the Julian calendar, provided by none other than the ancient imperialist, Julius Caesar, the majority of us will see the date 2018 on our mobile phones, laptops, newspapers, etc.

For many people around the world, a new year is seen as a time to shed the old and look forward to the new. The fantasy tells us that we will make and keep the lofty aspirations we promise ourselves (and if you are foolish enough) our friends and relations, even though the reality is more often than not, quite different.

When I first started out in the press, New Year predictions were a popular thing in the newspapers. Columnists would look into their crystal balls and make generally hopeful divinations about the future of the country’s sports, politics, economy, culture and the arts. Sometimes these forecasts were made on solid data, but at other times it was all wishful thinking.

Often the predictions resembled the weather forecast where it is possible to get it right a couple of days ahead, but much further is quite unpredictable.

At this time, I am tempted to make a few predictions of the future myself, but only on the understanding that if I am correct, dear reader, you will remember what I said and quote it, and if i am wrong you will forget about and we will never mention it again.

I predict that in Kenyan politics, the coalitions that went into the August  2017 election, will transmute quite significantly. This is because none of the two major coalitions, Jubilee or NASA, is based on any particularly noble principles, morals or ideological considerations other than ensuring “the eating chiefs” are satisfied.

As such the country will continue its descent into what the administrator and thinker Habel John Nyamu forecast in his posthumously published memoirs, Recollections, in which he wrote that this sort of leadership that seems to revel in the loss of patriotism, vision and morality will pave the way to an apocalypse.

The only way to climb out of this predicted morass will be for Kenyans to save themselves by taking matters into their own hands and reclaiming all the powers of vision, dedication to duty and country that they have abdicated to their leaders.

 It won’t be an easy journey and it will require a certain amount of honest debate about where we want to be as a people and as a country, but it can be done.

Whether we will take up the challenge of nationhood complete with the ideas and ideals to help us shape the Kenya we want, is up to us not up to our leaders.

There isn’t much time and it is a huge project, but maybe if we resolve to do this, each of us in our own small way, we might actually get back on track to building a prosperous and happy future for all Kenyans. But we have to start now.

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