In the labyrinthine journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Kenya stands at a crossroads with a striking contrast between our achievements and the disconcerting reality of our daily lives.
As young Kenyans, we find ourselves grappling with a poignant truth - the stark disparity between the promise of progress by our leaders and the punishing weight of our present burdens. It's time we engage in some introspection, asking ourselves the hard questions that will determine our path forward.
In the glow of the 2023 SDG Summit, as global leaders converge to chart a course towards a better world, we must remember the Kenyans who are choking under the unbearable taxes and a spiraling cost of living. It is a reality that feels as heavy as the tax burdens themselves, an anchor pulling us down as we strive for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our so-called leaders, entrusted with the responsibility to protect and inspire hope, have turned the tables on us. They hurl vicious insults and inexplicable taunts as if we are a congregation of criminals deserving every ounce of punitive taxes heaped upon them by the government. In this theatre of governance, we are cast as the villains, while the real culprits hide behind the curtains, untouched by the suffering they inflict.
The spirit of the SDGs, which champions hope, optimism, and progress, seems to have taken a detour in our beloved Kenya. The very ideals that should guide us forward are obscured by the shadow of unjust taxation and unaffordable living costs. It's a stark reminder that progress should not come at the expense of the people it seeks to benefit.
As young Kenyans, we must embrace this moment of reflection. We find ourselves at the midpoint of the SDG journey, facing a dual reality – one of remarkable achievement in some areas and the other of debilitating hardship in others. This is a paradox we can no longer ignore, for it demands our collective voice and action.
We must use the power of creative expression, the poetry of our words, and the fire of our determination to challenge the status quo. Let us be the generation that not only holds our leaders accountable but also becomes the architects of our own progress. We are not a "bunch of criminals," as they might want us to believe. We are the architects of change, the harbingers of hope, and the custodians of our nation's future.
In our pursuit of the SDGs, let us call for transparency in taxation, fairness in resource allocation, and the eradication of corruption that siphons our hope and resources. Let us demand policies that bridge the gap between our achievements and our lived reality, ensuring that no Kenyan is left to bear the unbearable.
As we reflect on Kenya's SDG journey, we must remember that the path to progress is not paved with insults and punitive taxes but with empathy, inclusion, and genuine commitment to the welfare of all citizens. Our future as young Kenyans hinges on our ability to ask the hard questions, to demand accountability, and to shape a nation where the spirit of the SDGs shines through in every policy, every action, and every leader.
It is in this spirit of resilience, determination, and unity that we can truly progress towards a Kenya that embodies the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals - a Kenya where hope, optimism, and enthusiasm are not just distant dreams but tangible realities for all.
-Mr Kipkalya is the Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships Officer at Emerging Leaders Foundation – Africa