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'STAY WOKE'

Kenyans arise, future too important to be left to tiny elite

Che Guevara said, 'A revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.'

In Summary

• The first line of defence in a democracy is the people who put the government in power.

• Incompetent governments the world over cannot transform a nation because they usually represent minority interests.

Part of the crowd that attended a past Madaraka Day celebrations at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.
Part of the crowd that attended a past Madaraka Day celebrations at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.
Image: BEN NDONGA

Kenya’s future cannot be left to the ruling elite if we adhere to democratic governance which is the rule of the people, by the people and for the people. 

Democracy means that people own the government and must be ready to participate in enhancing its systems and processes to serve their interests and aspirations.

Democracy freezes when citizens stop engaging. And this one has frozen.

 

Citizens have a critical role in the war against corruption, misuse of public resources, injustice,  impunity and other vices. Their inaction will ruin the possibility of a decent society.

During the Independence struggle, those outraged by colonialism knew that if they didn’t rise up to fight, nobody would do it for them.

I wonder if in today's Kenya, we have anyone like Oginga Odinga, Bildad Khagia, Koitalel Aamoei, Ronald Ngala andMasinde Muliro, who seized the moment and fought against colonialism.

The first line of defence in a democracy is the people who put the government in power.

Tiny minority rules 

Madaraka Day was celebrated recently. But the biggest question is if Kenyans from Moyale to Namanga, Mount Elgon to Liboi, irrespective of ethnicity, creed, gender or economic status,  know that 56 years down the road a those who enjoy the fruits of self-rule are a minority?

We’re at sea as a nation, on the brink of extinction. Looting of public resources is alarming. Wananchi everywhere are unsure of their future. Unemployment has hit a crescendo; hopelessness is characterised by many suicides. 

 
 

The late playwright Francis Imbuga was right in his play, Betrayal in the City when he said, “It was better while we waited. Now we have nothing to look forward to. We have killed our past and are busy killing our future.”

Incompetent governments the world over cannot transform a nation because they usually represent minority interests. That’s why the role of citizens, the majority, is essential. The need to overcome a crisis, especially when government has failed, requires active citizen participation.

Every Kenyan wants a good country to bequeath to the next generation. The time is over for civil society and individual freedom fighters like Paul Muite, James Orengo, Raila Odinga, Philip Gachoka, the late Martin Shikuku, George Anyona, Kenneth Matiba, Masinde Muliro, etc.

If misrule and suffering triggered the Arab Spring in 2010 in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the French Revolution in the 18th century, and Romanians in 1989, the Philippines in 1986, why should resilient Kenyans not chart the path towards a good country?

President Uhuru Kenyatta garnered millions of votes in 2013 and 2017 mostly from poor Kenyans. The same Kenyans have a constitutional mandate to reverse misrule. This remains the only viable option to get out of the mess we’ve been mired in for more than five decades.

The Kenyan situation may be equated that of Hamlet who refuses to kill the King at the best opportunity. He delays executing revenge, citing lack of zeal to sin.

The desire by dejected Kenyans is centred on the quest for justice, equity and equality; the desire for a renaissance to inject fairness in managing state affairs cannot be delayed. Inaction means stagnation.

Kenyans must remember that pacifism is ONLY good in an egalitarian society where the principles of equality, equity and human rights are respected. Kenya being the opposite, we can’t afford to continue wading in starvation, disease, injustice, stolen elections, nepotism, and grandiosity and greed when other nations are making positive strides in socio-economic development.

Present predicaments

Democracy without direct engagement by citizens conformism (inaction). Kenyans from Moyale to Namanga, Mount Elgon to Liboi, should reawaken and raise.

It's high time the Kenyan majority started asking the following questions:

1. Why has the judiciary never prosecuted, convicted and jailed any high-profile person on graft, when we see many mega corruption scandals? Our jails are only dominated by Chicken thieves!

2. Why should Kenyans continue paying taxes yet there is no meaningful development? Even civil servants paid by taxpayers’ demand bribes before they render services to the public!

3. Why should we waste time to vote for president every five years when the winner is pre-determined by those who control the flow of power?

4. Are Kenyans comfortable when a small clique has mysteriously risen to riches through unscrupulous means — from middle-class income people to multi-billionaires?

5. Why are we not outraged when civil service appointments do not meet constitutional thresholds on meritocracy, gender equity and regional balances? 

6. Does the current leadership have the capacity to grant economic freedom, fight impunity or narrow the gap between the rich and the poor?

7. Why has the Jubilee government failed the accountability test, yet time after time, the Auditor General has stated clearly that billions of funds are unaccounted for in adits?

8. Is Kenya a country worth bequeathing? Ii the answer is no, are we ready to stand up and tell the ruling elite that power belongs to the majority and not to them?

Che Guevara said, “A revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.”

Kenyans are justified to pursue leadership, which is representative, accountable, just and democratic.

The writer is the President of Kenya Patriotic Movement, a diaspora lobby group based in the US.