I had the unfortunate experience of questioning a police officer the other day that saw me spend a few hours in a police cell. I was angry, humiliated and distraught at the reality I was facing. But that was nothing compared to what I saw and witnessed within those squeezed walls. There are many things that are wrong with this Nation, a lot having to do with the fact that our leaders are inept and greedy; concerned with amassing wealth for themselves and using positions of power as platforms for their own selfish gain. I was shocked to see that rights and freedoms (words) enshrined in the constitution are nothing more than that, just words. Your rights and freedoms are ‘privileges’ you enjoy by permission of those who can take them away at a moment’s notice. We are living in a completely fragmented society. I realized that my freedoms are not really freedoms, they are ideals we dream about, ideals we aspire to but they are totally nonexistent in our society today. The level of squalor and dehumanizing conditions those who find themselves behind bars go through is heart wrenching. I was only there for a few hours but was completely traumatized by the experience. When we speak of a free, just and fair society I doubt we understand just how far we are from that dream. When people like Boniface Mwangi go out to fight for those rights at the risk of spending a few days behind bars at the mercy of an already discouraged, broken police force that will empty out all their frustrations on him and deny him any right that is fitting for a human being then we owe him our support and allegiance, he knows what isn’t working and has paid the price for demanding for it. I have a new found respect for him and all those others willing to go to such extents for our freedoms. Our Nation is broken, we live in a utopian world, where our materials lie to us that we are okay and everything is fine. No, everything’s not fine… we are staring at the very depths of hell. The fabric that holds us together is old, tired and worn out. It will give in at any moment. You have no rights, you either have power or not. That’s the only currency that is understood in this beautiful land; POWER. And it breaks my heart to think that of all the 340+ ‘leaders’ elected to political office not counting the governors have done almost nothing in regards to ensuring the well being of all citizens. That we spend more time engaging on political debates rather than asking ourselves the kind of Nation we want our children to grow up in. How is it that systems don’t seem to work here? And don’t give me that argument for at least a few things are working. I thank God for that which works! But that doesn’t mean everything else must remain in the dark ages!!! Why are we still completely held up on the old, foolish way of doing things? We need to reengineer the minds of our children, I understand why the ‘brain drain continues’ to occur, if a nation cannot guarantee the very basic needs and rights of its citizens those who can, will be first to leave for greener pastures. Why do we have people still living in abject poverty? Why can’t the majority of Kenyans enjoy universal healthcare? Why would a young man resort to crime and gang activity? It’s really simple, we have our priorities all mixed up. We would rather employ leaders who are out to enrich themselves rather than create systems that work and get the necessary goods and services to the local Mwananchi. What’s the use of having an MCA, MP, Senator and Governor in your county when all they manage to do is increase their wages? Why are we so represented when we are unable to afford a loaf of bread, a packet of maize meal? What’s the use???? We need a total shift in the space of leadership, we need men and women keen on service. People more concerned with bringing us home, a place of abundance and good. I pray and hope Boni doesn’t change and become one of ‘them’ when he’s elected. I pray and hope we have more Boni’s in this country. We need to pull our Nation back… we have to! We are still colonized, only that the slave masters color and language changed. He’s a black man today, with A GUN/POWER.
Every five years our Nation tears right in the middle, the only time we didn’t experience that was the ‘Kibaki Tosha’ euphoric election. We have allowed politics to be our bread and water, our all in all. We periodically become enemies every five years, angry and hateful. But why? Why are our tribal inclinations so strong? Why are we okay with the death and subjugation of those we consider our ‘enemies’, those ones from the other side? What is it our business that we want to see others completely destroyed? As a Nation we assume that the only way to prosper is if our person is in power, a primitive and backward ideology. If we still believe that the only way to prosper and develop as a people is if our ‘tribal’ leader is in power then maybe we should all go back to our villages and live within our tribal cocoons! We have to put a stop to the nonsense of continually seeking to subvert and subjugate some or any community. Kenya today has some of the most educated and intelligent individuals but we are still all caught up with a system of thinking that has been proved to kill and destroy. There has to be a better way! What about standing for Truth and Justice! The only way we’ll be able to come out on the other side of this dark tunnel is if we all begin to espouse values and principles as our guiding philosophies, not what my clan’s man/woman says but what I hold to be true and pure. That will be the only way to overcome and win. Africa, need its sons and daughters to start driving that kind of change. Many of us are beginning to feel the shame and embracement of the last few weeks now that the toxic euphoric embers fanned by our ethnic leaders are beginning to die down. Use that shame to push you to do something positive and transformative about yourself first then your community. The problem isn’t the society, the problem is YOU “One of the most difficult things is not to change society – but to change yourself” – Nelson Mandela
Malcom Gladwell’s book ‘tipping point’ made us aware of that unique group, time and gifting that has set the worlds agenda moving over time. That there is always a tipping point in everyone’s life where they choose the path they will take in life. Many of the African state attained independence some 50 – 70 years ago. The leaders then were young energetic men and women, ready to take the reins of leadership and lead their Nations to a glorious future; they failed. Why? A failure to understand the needs of the population, greed, selfishness and a desire to become (gods) like their colonial masters They were either overly ambitious with no clear plans, greedy or outright foolish. Many amassed immense wealth for themselves, their cronies and families at the expense of their brothers who fought and shed their blood for independence. That generation could have been a tipping point generation; they were already at a ‘tipping point’ moment in history, a time when African Nations attained Independence from their colonial masters. They had everything going on for them. They were educated, eloquent, carried a lot of favor and had their countrymen behind them. But they failed to deliver us to the promised land, may be by fate but those that took after this first generation undid most if not all the great strides that had been taken until that moment. In the recently concluded national elections in Kenya, the key players were the two key patriarchs of Kenyan politics, from the only two families that have shaped our political discourse over the last 50 years. Since independence, two families have decided the path this Nation has taken in almost every sphere of our social life, from education, to business, to governance and rule of law. It almost feels as if our hands are tied and our lives pre-determined by a select few. We were handed to a new set of slave owners. This story cuts across the entire continent, where a few individuals have taken on the face and likeness of the colonialist and are doing everything in their power to control state wealth and power all to a selfish end. The most coveted positions in the continent are political seats, not for their love of the people but for their love of wealth and power. This has to change. We need a new dawn in the continent and the next generation will lead us there.