Let’s face head-on what ails nation and stalls growth

If a nation can be compared to a human being, Kenya is only now reaching adolescence, the age where a child develops into an adult.

Kenya’s parturition was a tumultuous event. The Republic of Kenya was birthed after a traumatic gestation period which saw our people throw-off colonial’s oppressive rule. Midwifed by those who paid great sacrifices for the nation, leaders tried to invest the people with a sense of freedom and democracy even though those who created the republican system and laws had themselves never breathed either in their lives.

Infancy was still exciting but not without challenges as the nation tried to get onto its feet and take its first steps. Jomo Kenyatta was a flawed leader, but he was thrust into Executive power and was generally successful in laying down the necessary foundations of the nation.

Childhood was far more traumatic. The ghost of tribalism, something our former colonists tried to imprint onto our national DNA, returned with full force, and became the obsession of the day.

While corruption has sadly always existed at one level or another, it became more blatant, open and grotesque. Everyone knew it was happening at all levels, from the Cabinet to your local medical officer. Everybody seemed to be on the take, in one form or another.

Considering the hard work and innovation of the people, Kenya still lagged far behind even regional rivals on almost every level.

However, it is clear even to detractors that something has definitely changed in the last few years.

And we cannot afford to elongate our adolescence. Time is ripe for transition. We must face head-on the issues that have always held us back.

It is therefore encouraging to see the Executive coming out guns blazing to confront corruption. We hope and pray, as President Uhuru Kenyatta has on several occasions assured, that no one will be spared.

The big number of high-profile cases in court is historic. All focus will be on the Judiciary to play its part and ensure justice is done for millions of innocent Kenyans who suffer every day because of the sins of a few individuals hell bent on filling their already bulging bellies.

Then there is internet connectivity. According to the latest data from the Communications Authority of Kenya, internet subscriptions have continued to rise, reaching 52,008,895 by September last year. The number of active mobile subscriptions stood at 53.2 million as by the same date, up from 52.2 million at the end of June. This translates to mobile penetration level of 112.0 per cent.

Such connectivity, needless to say, offers unlimited opportunities for local and foreign investments.

The Standard Gauge Railway, for all of its faults, is a game-changer. Along with thousands of kilometres of new roads and ports, our country is more interlocked and unified than ever before.

This transition would be incomplete without unity. The much-talked-about working relationship between Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga should work to build a nation united beyond raw politics. The Building Bridges Initiative, with all the heat it has raised, is another attempt to iron out some of the issues that have continued to bruise the country.

Adolescence is an important time in the development of both a person and a nation. To successfully navigate this crucial period, it is vital that there is a guide which points us in the right direction.

The Republic of Kenya has always been a country, and now it is well on its way to becoming, for the first time in its history, a nation.

- The write is a banker and comments on topical issues.