Mr President, ignore the discontent, public anger at your peril
SEE ALSO :The curse of handshakeImagine if Mr Kenyatta could give his handlers the slip and escape from State House in disguise; ride a matatu to River Road or a boda boda to Mathare and spend hours just listening and engaging with his people. What would he hear? Would he marvel at the ingenuity and creativity of the masses that eke out a living in the most difficult of circumstances? Would he still inquire as to how Kenyans are broke? What would happen if he or his Cabinet were genuinely immersed in the joys and misery of their people? Would that shape his attitudes, appointments and policies? Would he forget about his legacy and destination and instead focus on changing his current direction? Yet, instead of immersion in the lives of their constituents most elected officials escape from their people and shield themselves from the public with security personnel, steel gates and mbwa kali. In Mombasa no sooner does an MCA get elected than he migrates to Nyali and reappears five years later. Elected politics is mostly an opportunity to escape from poverty rather than a calling to address it. So is it any wonder then that just about every politician is completely out of touch with the reality of Kenyans and living a life of luxury at the poor’s expense? They also are taking the nation’s tolerance and patience for granted, but that meekness will not placate the young generation. During last week’s celebrations to honour Prof Yash Pal Ghai, a young man with the most inappropriate name of Happy Olal let loose his rage on the invited guests, including the Chief Justice, MPs, ambassadors and other dignitaries. The Social Justice Network leader shattered the façade and ridiculed the structures which we sometimes imagine are serving the promotion of justice. As he described the slaughter of young men in the people’s settlements of Nairobi, he chided the three arms of government for their indifference, arrogance and contempt for the rights of the poor. You could sense the discomfort of one half of that audience and the sheer delight from the others present. Koigi Wamwere warned that if such language was representative of the masses, then those in power should tread cautiously. The seasoned champion of change is right as the leadership of this country is not reading the mood of the millions at this time. The discontent, poverty and desire for radical change is evident everywhere. Happy and his colleagues castigated the secretive BBI Report and rejected the handshake as a betrayal of those who want social justice. Those views may not be the full story but woe unto those who would dismiss the youth whose outrage about the looting of the country and their destiny is genuine and contagious. Closed door meetings among the power elites like that of Sagana mean nothing to the masses. They demand open meetings that address the oppression, hardships and tough economic constraints that they experience daily. - Gabriel Dolan [email protected] @GabrielDolan1
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