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Kenyans should stop being too negative

By Mark Bichachi | January 29th 2020 at 08:15:00 GMT +0300

Commentary
Having problems is not the issue but being the harshest critic to every solution is.

The New York Times recently wrote an article depicting Kenyan soldiers as lazy and cowardly. It insisted that our soldiers did nothing but hide in the grass when Al Shabaab attacked the Manda base in Lamu early this month.

But even before the veracity of these claims was establishd, some Kenyan social media users began to insult our defence forces. Without a single moment of pause, we threw our own under the bus to the advantage of the USA and Al Shabaab. No one noticed that we had sided with the enemy.

We didn’t notice because Kenya today is a land of insults and hatred. Nothing can be done right and if you ask most Kenyans, nothing is happening. The civil society, especially, stands condemned.

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For their own financial survival, they never report on anything good that happens. If the Cabinet meets the two-thirds gender rule they will say nothing. If youth are appointed to high office, they will say nothing about it.

In fact, and most likely, they will find a way of criticising it. Not because they are gallant defenders of the people, but because if they admit to positive change, their messiahs will stop sending them money and their golden goose will stop laying eggs.

This is the reason they fight the BBI. They fight it because they want to be seen as the only ones who want to change our nation. Anyone else who attempts to do so is a sham and a farce. Don’t you think it is rather odd that the civil society holds demonstrations to ask government to listen, but when government is listening through BBI they claim it is a fraud?

It is also dishonest to purport that since there are other reports on land and other matters of justice, then there is no need for BBI. Let me remind them that the USA has taken nearly 100 years to recognise women as equal to men constitutionally.

Do they imagine it was for lack of various reports and inquisitions that it took so long? Never mind that they still missed their 1982 deadline for 38 states to ratify the amendment.

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I am not saying that there is nothing wrong with our country. There is in fact a lot that left to be done and corrected in almost every sector.

The second category of people that is spurring the heightened negativity is the political class; the ancient crocodiles of Kenyan society whose sole competence is swimming in dark and murky waters, preying on the Kenyan public.

Fight against

Our politicians love dirty politics. The cleaner it gets the more uncomfortable they become. When Raila Odinga is no longer an enemy, they still want to insult him and hate him because in Kenyan politics, saying bad things is the cool thing to do.

The net result of this is that right-thinking Kenyans are beaten to submission by the shouts and abuses of those who stand to gain from a ‘failed Kenya’ narrative.

Those who use the Internet and the freedom of speech will be the first to say they are being dictated to. Those who drive on roads currently being constructed will claim the nation is not developing and those who see step-by-step changes will also say the steps are too slow and fake.

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In fact, I was surprised to hear a member of civil society claim that the Sh270 billion that we secured in a trade deal with UK was not a good thing because it will be stolen. I wondered what an awfully negative thing to say that was especially at a time when the fight against corruption is at its zenith.

Cases worth Sh140 billion are being prosecuted with many more on the way. I wondered what the solution would be. Should Kenya stop spending and expanding? Should we stop government business because our negative minds tell us everything is wrong and bad?

Every country has its shameful past and injustices. Australia still has to contend with its historical mistreatment of the aborigines as does the US and Canada. The US has been stuck in Iraq for twice as long as Kenya has been in Somalia with no tangible results, yet you will never hear Americans insult the US army. Having problems is not the issue but being the harshest critic to every solution is.

Kenyans are firmly standing in their own way, tripping and pulling down anyone who wants to do the right thing. Supporting good government initiatives is unfashionable. You will be called a traitor and a job-seeker. Oh, Kenyans, who has bewitched you? What the government does right is for your good, there is no shame in acknowledging that.

Kenya does have dirty linen, but it is not a rotten country or a failed state. We have plenty that is good. Let us learn to praise that and to critique what is wrong but in the most patriotic way possible. In this way we will all have a nation we are proud of and our negative and abusive leaders will have no audience and their abuses will go quiet.

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Perhaps then the headlines will define to us what the Sh270 billion means for Kenya instead of predicting how our politicians will fight over the microphone at the next BBI rally.

Mr Bichachi is a communication consultant. [email protected]


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