Kenya has fallen upon difficult times. It has been about half a year since reports of the coronavirus broke in the international media, and around four months since it reached Nairobi and started to spread to the counties.
The past few months have not been easy for any of us – for the taxi and matatu drivers who ferry people from point A to point B, for the hardworking people who sell their fruits and vegetables on the roadside, for domestic workers that typically go to work in other people’s homes every day.
It has not been easy for our leaders in government, who are struggling to find the best solutions for our country and our people while at the same time keeping us safe and mitigating the effects of the virus. And it has been especially difficult for all those individuals working in the health industry, whether as doctors or nurses, scientists or researchers.
Truth is, we are all hurting from this pandemic, economically, socially and even emotionally.
When things seem so difficult, it is easy to get frustrated at the ostensible causes of hardship. We can become angry at the supermarket when the prices seem too high, or at the government if we perceive that not enough is being done.
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But ultimately, there is no one enemy to blame for the Covid-19 hardships we are faced with. While no one in the world planned it or wanted this virus outbreak to affect the global economy in an unprecedented way it has, there is only one productive way to deal with the problem now.
We have to be thinking forward, and not backwards. If we allow ourselves to be swept away by too much hatred and anger, will there be any room left for love and optimism? The answer is no. Covid-19 is undeniably spreading here, and it behoves each and every one of us to diligently do what we can to stop its spread.
That means following government guidelines for health precautions, maintaining physical distance with those with whom we do not live, and limiting the amount of time we spend outside of the home.
Yes, it is a truly global challenge, but it just has to be done. We have seen how bad it has gotten in several other countries, and it could get that bad here in Kenya as well. But we must at least try to do our part.
There is truly no better time for unity than now. Kenya historically has been a divided nation, one scarred by ethnic strife and distrust. Ethnic groups have fought each other violently while the political parties that represent them have refused to get along.
Period of crisis
This is not the time for political divisions. It is important that in this period of crisis, we have to build on efforts to rally the country together.
There is no denying that two years ago when President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga decided to put the past behind them and shake hands, a seismic shift occurred within our society.
One of the most important outcomes of this has been better representation for previously underrepresented groups in government. Every Kenyan citizen deserves a seat at the table, the right to have his or her opinion heard with regards to our country’s affairs. Having a sense of belonging is particularly important in this time of crisis.
When push comes to shove, we only have one Kenya. We only have one place to call home, and we have to start giving to our country in return to what it gives us.
More than ever before, our nation needs to focus on what works best and to support the decision-making apparatus at all levels. This is a good way to get through this challenging chapter together.
The coronavirus should not lead to negative energies that will pull us back and make us harm one another.
Every country goes through rough patches. But what distinguishes the prosperous countries from the less successful ones is the ability to be unified through thick and thin, even in the darkest moments.
And in that spirit, under the umbrella of unity, we should all be working towards unity of purpose that will strengthen us to beat Covid-19. For the common citizen, that means remaining hopeful that we will overcome the virus and putting trust in our government, experts, development partners and leaders.
Obedience to the rules, a phrase we have been hearing extensively for the past four months, is more important today than ever before.
It is important to remember, however, that the Covid-19 crisis has given rise to a new challenge. It is a new reality that none of us could have expected. Now, we have to adapt to this turn of events. Things will never be the same.
Sticking together and supporting one another is what will help us all get through these challenging times.
Presenting an obedient front that respects the limitations aimed at curbing the spread of the virus will ensure that measures against this pandemic are respected even by sceptics who still question them.
It means helping out a neighbour in these extraordinary times, and seeing to it that you give the help you can offer to those in need.
Now is not the time to fight about who is to blame for what. We have our own share of contribution to make to this epic fight. If we are to emerge from this pandemic whole, we must be unified at all times.
-The writer is a communications specialist.