Lack of national ethos and skewed values are ruining us

As we ruminate over the next phase of our constitutional dispensation as a nation, economic success should be our ultimate ambition.

Kenya aims at 10 per cent per annum economic growth, and self-sustenance by 2030. One of the issues identified as plaguing our economic take-off by the Building Bridges Initiative task force has been the lack of national ethos and skewed cultural values. These have hampered our performance.

The importance of values as a component of economic success and as an influence on social and political institutions is a reality if the Asian Tigers are anything to go by.

Well-known cultural orientations that are important in facilitating economic success include the strength of family ties, the spirit of enterprise and hard work, self-reliance, a sense of individual responsibility and the disposition to save and act with prudence in utilisation of economic resources.

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These must be the DNA of the nation if economic progress is to be realised. They have, in turn, reinforced the social and cultural values that have helped Asian economies to flourish.

In a past address, Lee Kwan Yew, the former prime minister of Singapore, stated that: "We Asians have different social values. These different social values have made for fast growth."

This point was further emphasised by Dr Mahathir Mohamed, the former prime minister of Malaysia, while explaining his country’s growth when he averred that, "Asian values are actually universal values and African people used to practice the same values until their leadership decided to deviate from them."

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All constitutional amendments will be of zilch value if we do not fundamentally alter our social and cultural value orientation.

Letter to the Editor from Auscar Odhiambo Wambiya.

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