By Ngâangâa Gicumbi
Recently, I visited parts of Kenya that many pundits have accurately described as âforgotten Kenyaâ â the North Eastern counties.
But what particularly touched me was my encounter with a mother and her ten-year-old son. I was taking water under a when a discussion between a Somali mother and her son intrigued me. The boy appeared to be lecturing his mother in a noisy tone, which appeared to me to be out of the ordinary.
Since I couldnât understand a word of their language, I took enough courage to ask the mother in Kiswahili what the fuss was all about.
I wasnât sure whether she was going to answer me. To my relief, however, she answered me in perfect Kiswahili what the discussion was about.
Unable to fend for the family after the death of their father some two years back, she told the son she had reached the end of the road as she had exhausted all the family savings.
This is what the boy was telling the mother: "Mother, you cannot give up on us now; when you look at your children, you want to tell me you canât see hope for tomorrow in all of us, really?" I was left mouth agape with amazement; âforgotten Kenyaâ had its own share of gems of beauty.
Today, the word political crisis is on every Kenyanâs tongue and thoughts. While it is not the first time we have had political crisis, this one is seemingly special with the prospect of a foreign trial for key political players hanging around as the sword of Damocles.
Yet, it will surprise many Kenyans to know that just as the Chinese saying, âa calamity is a great opportunityâ, they too and not the politicians, can and I dare add, should benefit from the current political crisis.
This is because, like the Somali boy, we need to look at each other, especially the youthful members of the society, and see our hopes for tomorrow. To achieve this, we shall need to do a number of things.
One, we will need to overcome over reliance on the political class as determinants of our future. Herbert Marcuse, a leading philosopher, writing on liberation and slavery said: âall liberation depends on the consciousness of servitude.â
There is a true sense in which the political consciousness of an average Kenyan is hard to liberate due to his dependence on the political class for his thinking. But it is equally true that the elite, especially those whose livelihood is politics, are desirous of the status quo to remain because it is a great service to their pockets and egos.
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