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Jubilee experiment has failed Kenyans

By Alexander Chagema | January 19th 2017

A majority of Kenyans are groaning, a predicament aptly contextualised by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist paper No 15 (a series of articles James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay submitted to newspapers for publication between 1787 and 1788) when he wrote: "This is the melancholy situation which we have been brought by those very maxims and councils which deter us from adopting the proposed constitution; and which, not content with having conducted us to the brink of precipice, seemed resolved to plunge us into the abyss that awaits us below. Here, my countrymen, impelled by every motive that ought to influence an enlightened people, let us make a firm stand for our safety, our tranquility, our dignity, our reputation. Let us at last break the fatal charm which has too long seduced us from the paths of felicity and prosperity.”

A tired Kenyan nation has hobbled to the point it needs to take up Hamilton’s challenge. For far too long, we have been treated to maxims that add no value to the lives of ordinary Kenyans battling diseases, drought, illiteracy, famine, corruption, social inequalities, collapsed Government systems, job losses, insecurity, extra-judicial executions, State intimidation and Executive intolerance.

Indeed, as the saying goes, change is as good as rest. After the harrowing National Youth Service and Afya House scams, after the Al Shabaab reign of terror, after the Eurobond shroud, massive corruption and Jubilee’s passage of contentious bills purely on the basis of tyranny of numbers other than their value, Kenyans deserve change.

Hamilton went on to state that “we may indeed with propriety be said to have reached almost the last stage of humiliation. There is scarcely anything that can wound the pride or degrade the character of an independent nation which we do not experience”.

Jubilee's ego, bloated by its numerical strength in Parliament, has given it false confidence; some transitory omnipotence that could benefit from Thomas Paine’s observation in his book ‘The Rights of Man' that “there never did, there never will, and there never can exist a parliament, or any generation of men, in any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the end of time or commanding forever how the world shall be governed”.

The citizenry’s primary concern is hardly infrastructure, especially when all else is collapsing around them. A Government that cannot offer basic services to its people; food security, price stability, competent healthcare, clean drinking water, adequate security for the individual and education is a failed government. To a man who can barely afford a single meal a day, the railway and road signage are merely a source of scrap metal.

Poverty levels in Kenya are stupefying. And when poverty denies the majority access to education, how does the State paying national examination fees aid them?

While listening to a man on radio painfully explain how heartbroken he feels seeing other men take their children to secondary school while poverty and joblessness have consigned him and his son who scored 382 marks in last year’s KCPE to labour on farms just to buy a quarter kilo of sugar, I empathised.

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My heart bleeds for hundreds of thousands of poor pupils who have to work the quarry, wash neighbours' clothes or walk hundreds of kilometres among other child-labour indignities to raise fees.

I wonder; would the Government rather have a handful of scavengers pilfer billions of public funds than make secondary education free and compulsory? There is enough money, but lack of political goodwill to finance free education.

Oftentimes, I entertain doubt on whether the Ministry of Water and Irrigation is necessary when it is barely visible. Kenyans are inching closer to full-blown water fights as water becomes scarce. It beats logic that when both tiers of Government are unable to make water readily available, exploitative cartels ably fill the void.

Depressingly, hospitals built by taxpayers' money as a guarantee to good health have in every respect become morgues due to unending strikes by medical personnel and lack of drugs.

Amidst such indignity, our leaders are comfortable launching footbridges and electronic party membership cards for security reasons when they cannot countenance the same for the general elections.

Poor Government policies and lethargy have turned the Rift Valley; once Kenya’s main bread basket, into a shell of its former self. There are no competitive prices for farm produce as cartels milk farmers dry.

Farming is no longer lucrative as input outstrips returns. Job cuts and the heightened relocation of companies to neighbouring countries is an indictment on our leadership.

Kenya’s beacon lies in change.

But the question arises; can the Opposition accord Kenyans rest with the apparent mistrust, chest-thumping, selfishness and delusions of grandeur witnessed in NASA as its principals blow hot and cold at the same time?

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