The Bible tells me that we are all sinners and that nobody is perfect. If ever we are going to get to heaven it will not be by our works but by God’s grace. But sometimes I tend to think some sins are bigger than others. Take the case of an incident that occurred last week of a baby disappearing at Pumwani Maternity Hospital. The mother, Everlyn Wambui, is left baffled by the harsh reality. Incidentally, just a few days later, two people were arrested for being suspected of selling a child for 15,000/-. How do you compare such a crime to that which someone just stole a phone, something lifeless that can be bought in a shop? Can you even imagine the sort of pain the victims undergo, and even far much by the fact that they live without the hope of ever setting their eyes on their new borns?
I was born at the very hospital and thinking that I made it to be with my rightful mother, it is really painful to discover that someone will grow up somewhere in a family knowing it’s theirs, oblivious of the fact that they were stolen and sold at birth, and that they probably are never ever going to meet their real parents. Well, that’s Kenya for you. Sad thing is the culprits walk scot free in the streets and the crime probably still thrives at the hospital with many cases going unreported.
So much for insensitive individuals. Let’s talk politics, about other insensitive individuals. I want to believe that no one in Kenya ever wants to witness the horror that rocked the country during the post election violence. Each one of us was affected in one way or the other. As for me, watching my uncle on TV trying to evade rowdy youth armed with machetes in Naivasha was a site painful enough. It’s a miracle that he’s still alive because what happened to him after they over powered his desperate run is unprintable.
The stories that made lurid headlines on our airwaves at the time were heartbreaking. What with the many innocent souls that were burnt alive in a church? Macabre thoughts unpleasant to revisit. But I believe the future has more meaning to a people if they remember where they’re from, in this perspective.
Elections are slowly creeping nearer. Whether they’re going to be held in December or March next year, five years have passed. I will be lying to say that we have completely healed from the effects of the skirmishes. We are fond of staging violence after elections. History speaks for itself. The true test of our nationhood will be seen in our next general polls. Have we learnt from our mistakes or is the fighting going to get worse this time? Have the issues that brought about the fighting been solved or are they at least being looked into? Why do we fight anyway? What do we gain? Who wins and who loses? And is it worth it?
The current crop of political leaders are sheer demagogues. They never talk stuff that inspires Kenyans. Must politics always entail talking ill of each other and trying to make your opponents look bad? How does that develop an economy? What’s the benefit of enjoying wild empty chants out of talking colorful words but leaving your audience with nothing to ponder about how they could be better citizens or better still be the agents of the driving force behind economic and social development?
Kenyan politics would really be interesting if the players involved would make it sensible and more attractive. But tell me why a sane person would talk about politics in a funeral. I consider that as utter folly and a deficient show of respect to the deceased, the mourners and the bereaved family. Funny enough we have allowed it over the years. It does not make sense when a funeral service is turned into a political rendezvous, even if the departed soul were the president. So who is to blame, we or the politicians? Is there anything we can change about this? Has it become part of us so much that we see it as normal? Am sure I am not the only Kenyan fed up with the barbaric trend.
It’s a matter of time before the electoral commission opens the campaign period. Or whose job is it? We all know that our rich presidential aspirants are spending sleepless nights gathering up resources for their mega campaigns. Don’t we all know the things they’re going to be saying in order to woo us into voting them into office? I mean, we’ve heard it a million times only that we’re never wise enough to learn from lies.
The billions of cash that are going to be splashed on the campaign trial are huge amounts far much enough to settle all the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country and even set up developmental projects in arid areas around where water is a problem. But where do the people involved concentrate their interest? Should we call them good leaders? See, the people in government have the power to change this country for the better, they’re just not willing. Not to say that we have no one in power who works to see things happening for Kenya, but the levels of commitment for most of our influential individuals in the political arena are deeply appalling.
Can I give you my two cents on this? I think most of our politicians are a selfish lot who would do anything to have their way to the top. Maybe it would make a little sense if they made a difference once they get there, but what we witness is sad. To imagine that there’s someone who can have a two thousand shilling lunch at an uptown hotel while a whole family spends yet another day hungry in a Nairobi slum is an evident show of how unfortunately the gap between the rich and the poor has divided our people.
His Excellency, the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, wants to be the next Kenyan president. Well, that is not news, but according to one Jack Oyoo Midiwo, some people are plotting to kill ‘jakom’ (chairman). Of course the premier has rubbished the allegation citing that leaders should not expose the public to unnecessary anxiety, but he must be knowing a thing or two on this that Kenyans are in the dark about.
Had I been Raila, I wouldn’t vie for presidency. Yes, I just said that. Indeed, he has every right to do so especially after missing the top job by a whisker in the last general elections. What Kenyans forget is that our politics has a very long history. Raila first vied for presidency in 1997. He emerged third behind Mwai Kibaki and Daniel Moi, who won it then. In 2002, he joined hands with Kibaki on the opposition to literally kick KANU out of government and everything else associated with Moi. They did it in remarkable fashion. Three years later, he was against the president when the latter was rooting for a new constitution. That was when the Orange Democratic Movement was born and Kenyans did him a favour by voting ‘NO’ in the first ever referendum witnessed by the country.
In 2007, both of them vied for the top seat. Well, we all know how the story went. In essence, am trying to say that these two begun their political rivalry ages ago, long before most of us young people grasped a thing in the periodic table or even knew it existed. I want to believe that Raila wants to make it to number one this time simply because he has given it several shots. Perhaps it’s only to suit his ego or to pay tribute to his late father, Mzee Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. But I won’t deny the fact that he is a noble leader. I do not know what pushes one to want to become president in Kenya. From what I decipher, the interest of the people is not usually the first priority at heart. It has more to do with prestige. That runs through the whole of Africa. Leaders are driven more by personal interests
The reason why am saying I wouldn’t vie for presidency had I been ‘Agwambo’ is the fact that Kenya succumbed to her own undoing due to Kibaki and him. The people of Luo Nyanza adore Raila. They only don’t worship him, but he enjoys a god status. They meant business when they said ‘No Raila! No Peace!’. My worry is he himself is not doing enough to save his people from unhealthy political fanaticism. What will Kisumu do after Raila? Who will they look forward to? He’s definitely not going to run politics for eternity, and his children are the least likely to take after him. He needs to prepare his people for the future. The scenario we saw when Raphael Tuju took his presidential bid there for the first time left a lot to be desired. Does it mean that no one else apart from Raila can carry out campaigns in Kisumu? And then we call ours a democratic republic yet we don’t own up when our call to show that democracy comes?
That’s the problem with having a leader who is strongly associated with a certain tribe running for a major office like the presidency. It’s unfortunate that Kenya’s political big wigs are known by the tribe they come from and are judged from that perspective. Raila is not the only politician facing this challenge. There’s a host of them.
After the bloodshed in 2007, it would be noblest to retire from politics and do something else. Am just imagining, and God forbid, what would ensue if he happens to be assassinated like Midiwo alleges. What would this country turn to? We are still a nation lying in sophisticated margins of tribalism and unless our own political leaders take charge to unite us, our success story will still run very slowly. In fact, we should not wait for them to do that. It should begin from us; from the way we treat each other to how we value our citizenship.
Speaking of tribalism, presidential aspirants, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have resorted to gathering political approval from homeland groups namely GEMA and KAMATUSA respectively. Kenya’s political situation is a comic read. Politicians can make you laugh! They will do everything within their capacity to salvage as much support through funny antics just to justify their political cause and ambition. Even as it is evident that these groupings are tribal, they talk strongly against those who deem them as thus, of course as expected. GEMA and KAMATUSA represent a minor percentage of the Kenyan people. What would happen if each region formed its groupings? Where would we be headed to? And what are these leaders trying to tell us yet they expect to be voted in by virtually all of us? We all heard the threat Mr. Gitobu Imanyara claimed to have received from people supporting Uhuru Kenyatta. We clearly do not want to go down that drain as a country.
Our political sins are uncountable. We must begin working towards righting our wrongs. The politicians and everyone else involved in government now are just a passing cloud. We need to think beyond the general elections, beyond our political differences, our tribes and beyond our limitations towards achieving national cohesion. Right now they are on the hustings doing their best to pin each other down and everything. Kenyans need to ask themselves questions. What do we want? Where do we want to go? What does Kenya mean to us? And how far are we wiling to go in order to save our country from the brink of being torn apart by political turmoil? We are the very ones who hold those answers. The power is in the people. If only we all knew that.