TRANSFORMATION

BBI, Covid offer chance to reinvent Kenya

In Summary
  • The Constitution is like a car. The law is the engine. The people are the fuel. The Judiciary and law reformers are the mechanics.
  • Everyone infected by the coronavirus deserves the vaccine. But if we have corrupted and selfish leaders, the vaccine will not reach everyone.

Kenya is at its Promethean crossroads. The Building Bridges Initiative carries with it the promise of transforming Kenya’s bad politics. Covid-19 has interfered with the socioeconomic upward mobility of Kenyans. The two situations present Kenya with a great dilemma for sound Promethean development. If you abandon one you leave a deep well of endemic challenges.

BBI has triggered memories of the 2007-08 post-election violence. Kenyans want a peaceful country where individual liberties are protected, where they can work, invest and rebuild the good Samaritan spirit. The old concept of ‘majority take all’ has not worked well for Kenya and Africa.

After Kenya’s 2013 election, the Africa Interreligious Dialogue group met in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss the causes of endemic conflicts in Africa. ‘Winner takes all’ was a major stumbling block, yet in Africa’s social democracy, the winner and the loser found favour in each other. The ageset democracy functions this way, they knew collective governance required losers and winners to govern together.

In 2017 Pope Francis posed the question: Is it possible to build walls without bridges? How do you come out once inside your fortress? We need to build bridges to promote better democracy and governance in Kenya.

Continuous reforms are the blocks of successful development. No one should fear change. The Constitution is like a car. The law is the engine. The people are the fuel. The Judiciary and law reformers are the mechanics who oversee the functioning of the engine. The inadequacies of the law require continuous reforms.

The western world has been captivated by the Greek mythology of Prometheus to show irresponsible leadership can easily embrace trickery. If a country has tricksters, selfish leaders, then the system is doomed.

Prometheus had a reputation of being a clever trickster. When he was given the office of holding fire gifts and the skill of metalwork for all people, he decided to use the gifts for his own selfish ends. The god Zeus punished him by chaining him to a mountain rock. An eagle would eat his liver daily as he was helplessly chained to the rock. To ease his pain the liver would grow back every night. This perpetual torture led Prometheus to repent and be given back his earlier office.

The lesson was learnt. If you hold a public office and cannot serve humanity, there is punishment. But there is another side of the Prometheus mythology. His punishment was also interpreted to mean one who wanted to multiply his gifts for mankind to survive. The hero for all mankind’s ingenuity without accountability.

In western democracy Prometheus stands for human progress against the forces of obstruction. Germans after the War embraced the Promethean spirit to become a top economy. Hope is rekindled when humans endeavour for better life. Promethean development is rich in western literature.

Pope Benedict called for caution when embracing science. Human weakness expressed in greed and avarice at the expense of humanity can be a danger to human progress.

Everyone infected by the coronavirus deserves the vaccine. But if we have corrupted and selfish leaders, the vaccine will not reach everyone. The Promethean ethics teaches those in responsible positions to work for all people without segregation.

Without sound democracy, the war on Covid-19 will be lost. We need a Promethean spirit in Kenya. The Economic Daily estimates two million Kenyans are out of work. More than 85 per cent of the informal sector had been wiped out due to lockdowns and social distancing. It means the government has a tall order of rebuilding lost livelihoods. We need BBI and Covid-19 support.