JAMHURI DAY

Greed and selfism killed Independence spirit

In Summary
  • Global research firm Statistica puts the number of Kenyans in extreme poverty – living on less than $1.90 (Sh233) a day – at 8.8 million with the majority in rural areas.
  • Contrast this with leaders declaring their net worth running into billions and millions of shillings
A Kenyan dressed in the colours of the flag.
A Kenyan dressed in the colours of the flag.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Jamhuri Day is one of the most important holidays in Kenya. It marks the day the country became a republic.

This did not come on a silver platter but was attained after a bloody and sustained war to root out imperialists.

Kenya gained internal self-rule on June 1, 1963, and a year and six months later on December 12, 1964, it became a republic.

The birth of a new nation came with high hopes. The founding fathers promised to tackle poverty, disease and illiteracy.

How have we faired? There have been hits and misses.

At Independence, Kenya's life expectancy averaged 48 years but now stands at over 67.

Child mortality was at 250 deaths per 1000 births in 1963, but this has improved to 31 deaths per 1,000 births. Literacy level was around 20 per cent but has shot up to just over 80 per cent. 

Things would have been better had the corruption and get-rich-quick bug not bitten our leaders. Currently, Kenya's poverty gap is among the highest in Africa and is widening.  

Global research firm Statistica puts the number of Kenyans in extreme poverty – living on less than $1.90 (Sh233) a day – at 8.8 million with the majority in rural areas.

Contrast this with leaders declaring their net worth running into billions and millions of shillings

What happened to our Independence rallying call Harambee (pulling together)? Greed and selfism have made our leaders worse than the imperialists. 

Quote of the Day: “When the fight begins within himself, a man’s worth something.”

Robert Browning

The English poet died on December 12, 1889

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