The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam results were released earlier this week by the Education Minister,Prof. Sam Ongeri. What caught my interest most is the realization that parents, students, teachers and supervisors colluded to cheat exams. The situation is very unfortunate. Pupils have defined queer ways of stealing answers, to the extent of copying them on bathroom slippers just for the sake of passing.
That tells you there is a problem in the current education system. The aim is to pass exams, not really to be educated. That aside, it is the appalling rate at which corruption is taking root in our systems, shamefully up to learning institutions,the very place where morals should be picked up. Really, who is to blame?
On December 21st, 2011, I got the privilege to attend a reading forum that took place at Wasanii Restaurant at the Kenya National Theatre to commemorate the death of one great man,Mr. Thomas Sankara,the inspiring Burkina Faso leader. Apparently it was my first time to ever hear of him, so I did some research on the web before attending the forum so that I could have an idea of what the purpose of the meeting really was.
Among the attendees was Kingwa Kamencu, the 27-year-old lady who announced her intention to run for the Kenyan presidency in next year’s General Elections. She was the last person I expected to find there and I had never even thought that I would ever meet such a person that way. The rest was a group of writers and poets who had come to discuss some of the issues facing leadership in our country and Africa at large, of course in relation to the life of Thomas Sankara.
Just by the short YouTube clips I watched about Sankara, I could tell he was a great man. Really, I wa left inspired by the fact that he fought for mental liberation, a challenge facing most of our Kenyan leaders. I do not see the worth of a leader who wants to be worshipped, cheats the people, and ask to be voted in again in the next polls. That’s how much of Africa is.
Leaders, politicians precisely, do not live to liberate their people mentally. Of what use is a leader to his people if he does not teach them to be independent? And most of them get voted into offices so blindly, just because tribe favoured them, some sort of rigging or any another malpractice. If politicians would have the passion they have to get to office in serving the people, what a beautiful nation we would be talking of today.
But we have a big challenge. We have no people to look forward to, especially the youth. This came up at the reading event. Poet Oluoch Madiang’ posed a very vital point, that we mustn’t look forward to anyone in order to make this country a better place. We should have internal patriotic motivation other than looking up to leaders who seldom help us improve national matters. They are very vocal people in parliament, but they make you feel as if the constitution is just that, the constitution.
I wonder how Kenyans design to fight impunity while it begins in our homes. The value of taking responsibility for one’s actions should be inculcated in the family setting before we move out to social circles and education institutions.
Kenya is a country full of very bright people, some of them marginalized, some of them greedy, and some of them not confident. People always complain that they have no one to look up to. Well, I agree with the sentiments of my fellow poet, that we should move this country on our own. We must not wait for our leaders to change it. They are such a small bunch they cannot solely utter out ideas and fora that could get us moving as quickly as we ought to.
Now then, every Kenyan has an obligation to build his country by his own will, and not live as if we have accepted that corruption can never end, because that is how most of us act, like however much we work, we can never make any difference. If anything, a difference is a difference, whether you change one man or a whole nation.
Surely, we would not like to raise children who believe that the only way they can get what they want is through back doors and other shady ways. There must be some sort of moral base that the current generation must set so that the people who will be here tomorrow will only follow and improve in those footsteps. So before you look up to anyone, ask yourself who looks up to you, and before you do that, look up to yourself first. See how you can build Kenya from your heart, and from your mind.
These are the Kenyan Times.