By Editorial |
June 1st 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300
Many years ago, our forefathers, fed up with with the British riding roughshod over them, decided to turn the tables. The colonialists had dehumanised Kenyans for long and were determined to keep them under their heel until kingdom come.
They had robbed our people of their fertile lands and forced them to labour in the farms for a pittance, egged on by the whip hanging over their backs. They had robbed our forefathers of their dignity and humanity. They had robbed our forefathers of their culture. They killed and maimed our forefathers who dared to question these evils. The colonialists were on a brazen robbery with violence spree.
But our gallant forefathers brought all that to a stop. Galled by the injustices, our forefathers declared enough was enough and resolved to close that chapter of pain, shame and suffering. They took their arms, which were far much inferior to those of their tormentors and retreated to the thick forests where they launched the battle for their lives and the lives of generations to come. They won, eventually, but not before shedding blood and tears.
That’s why they are in our hearts and minds as we mark Madaraka Day today. Without them, we would still be in shackles; at the beck and call of the British. Unfortunately, even as we celebrate these heroes and heroines, this Madaraka Day will be unlike any other in our post-Independence history. There will be few, if any parties hosted to celebrate the day Kenya attained self-governance.
This because this day has come while we are in the middle of another war. Our country is under siege, confronted by very strong enemies who, just like our forefathers, threaten our survival and that of our progenies. Top among them is coronavirus. From the skies are hovering the menacing locusts and on land, the engulfing floods are drowning us, one by one. Corruption, as always, is alert, ready to ensure that our enemies have their way.
We are besieged, just like our forefathers were in the 1950s. But the truth of the matter is, if we are to win the war against these adversaries, we must have the resolve and determination of our forefathers.
The good news is that we have launched wars against these enemies. The bad news, however, is that we are flailing; our enemies are clearly having the better of us.
We must change tack. Luckily, we can borrow a leaf from our forefathers. The war against Covid-19 cannot be won by one person. Just like the fight for independence, it requires warriors from all corners of the country. Each and every one of us must take arms.
Unfortunately, some people, and they are many, have dropped guard. They are not keeping social distance and are not wearing face masks in public spaces. Some of those wearing masks are merely hanging them on their necks like precious jewels, leaving their mouths and noses exposed to the enemy.
To make matters worse, some of our leaders, who should know better, have dropped the ball. That was the case when scores of leaders broke Covid-19 rules at Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli’s home in Kajiado at the weekend
What our leaders must always remember is that they are the battalion commanders in these wars of our time. The public looks upon them for inspiration, and even support. When they fall out of step, the war founders.
Unfortunately, they seem more interested and preoccupied with fighting their political wars which pale in importance in the face of the pandemic. Today, one might be mistaken to think that 2022 is the more urgent ‘war’ for the country.
Ideally, our leaders should be speaking in one voice, rallying the public against this enemy. At a time when locusts are causing devastation and floods killing people, one would expect the leaders to be speaking loudly about how to tackle these challenges. But, alas, the political noise is much more strident.
This definitely is not what our forefathers envisaged. They most likely would have wished our leaders to put their differences aside and confront these enemies with all their might. And then fight their political wars afterwards, if they must.