When all else is stripped away, we will always have hope

From Moi's exit to the handshake, we've had many false 'new dawns'

In Summary

• Disappointment makes us dream more and hope bigger

Some of the fireworks in Mombasa at a past celebration
Some of the fireworks in Mombasa at a past celebration
Image: FILE

When the decade began, many Kenyans were hopeful. We had come through the violence of the abortion that was the 2007 election. We had been bloodied and traumatised but hopeful that with the coming referendum over the new constitution (after over a decade of talk), we might be getting back on track again.

Karma had other plans, just as she had other plans when in January 2003, we were declared the most optimistic nation on earth. Shortly afterwards, we found (to our surprise, even though deep down we must have known on some level) that our new rulers were pretty much our old ones, with a couple of new faces thrown in to confuse us. 

They were soon driving us down the same old potholed dark streets of corruption and impunity that we thought we'd left behind. 


The point here is that we've had many false "new dawns" from just before independence, from the dodgy Legco elections of 1957 (do some research and read about those, as Kenyans like to say, the rain had started beating us even then) to the "handshake". There will be many more to come, but it looks like we'll never lose hope.

Hope is part of the human condition. It really is what keeps us gulping for air until we can't any more. 

Hope is not a bad thing, even in our darkest hours we have hope. Watch any movie and you'll find hope in the plot.

Hope is that light at the end of a dark tunnel, even though you hear the whistle and rush of an oncoming train.

In 1992, even though I had no vote in the election, I supported Bill Clinton. Yes, he had shown the sign that he'd let people down — after all, he'd let his wife down by sleeping around — but he had that hope thing going.

Of course in the election at home, where I did have a vote, the candidates I backed for President had no hope of actually winning, and of the two I hoped would lose, one won and the other came dangerously close. In fact, some say he won but the vote was stolen.  

It seems counterintuitive, but maybe it's good that we keep getting disappointed. It makes us dream more and hope bigger and perhaps it is our salvation. Otherwise, we'd all give up tomorrow and that would be the end of the story.


So as a new year and new decade dawn, I'd like to borrow the words of Fleetwood Mac:

If you wake up and don't want to smile

If it takes just a little while

Open your eyes and look at the day

You'll see things in a different way

… Don't stop thinking about tomorrow

Don't stop, it'll soon be here

It'll be, better than before

Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone"

… Why not think about times to come?

And not about the things that you've done

If your life was bad to you

Just think what tomorrow will do

I wish you, dear reader, love and happiness but most of all, don't stop hoping.