KOIGI: It is wrong to back a government that discriminates against the poor

A view of Nairobi's Mathare slums. /Monicah Mwangi
A view of Nairobi's Mathare slums. /Monicah Mwangi

“Does this statement by President Kennedy mean “Ask not what your government can do for you, ask what you can do for your government?”

I believe unlike countries, governments are made not to be served by people but to serve people, unless they are of course, dictatorships.

With his statement, by promoting service to country, President Kennedy wanted to boost patriotism among Americans. If however, people are similarly urged to serve governments instead of governments serving people, service to government will only boost servitude and subservience to governments.

Unlike country which must be protected and developed by citizens through service, governments must serve and develop people, else people will collapse from double weight of service to government and country.

While people do not only serve, fight and die for country, governments serve and enrich a few people but offer no service to most people from whom they demand excessive services and taxes. Indeed, when most governments demand and charge taxes from people but offer nothing to people, people look at these governments as dictatorships they must not support but change.

When I see governments giving a few people tons and billions of money while majority grovel in destitution, I feel alienated from it, because it gives me and many other people nothing.

Though some people claim it is not patriotic to seek service or jobs from government, governments are made to serve people, people are not made to serve governments.

Yes, governments are made to serve and help people get jobs by growing economy and promoting industries to employ people. Only people who already have jobs can argue governments are not made to make jobs for people. It is illogical to claim that it is not the business of governments to employ people as we have seen them do in welfare states of Europe or in socialist countries like China, Russia, Cuba or Singapore.

Governments that manage their economies well, they provide their citizens work by giving them jobs, business, tenders, houses and medical care.

I find it difficult to defend or support a government that promises me rights under the Bill of Rights but refuses or ignores paying me money it owes me from award by court. I feel cheated or even oppressed when governments charge me several taxes daily, but gives me nothing back like passable roads or medical care when sick. Yet only service and justice can justify taxes by government. I feel alienated from a government that claims to serve me but will give me no water or food when I am without work.

A government is not mine when it looks like property belonging to certain people or families whose government has no obligation to serve or guarantee me justice. How can I support a government that gives me no road security denied by vehicles driven as if they are tanks in a war zone?

It is my feeling that this government has made some people super rich and most people dirt poor but does not protect me against corruption, against discrimination by negative ethnicity, against poverty that could befall me anytime and it does not protect me against most avoidable deaths.


Ultimately, it is wrong and unpatriotic to support a government that does not serve everybody, me and many others. It is wrong and patriotic to support a government whose only purpose is to enrich its leaders, relatives, friends and allies while buying off enemies. A government deserves power only through service to all.