Kenya has all of a sudden found itself in difficult times. After months of peace, an upward economic trajectory, new partnerships with international investors and allies, more accessible healthcare, and a new education system that is more far reaching and efficient than ever, our country has hit a roadblock.
It cannot be attributed to fellow countrymen and women, working hard every day to provide for their families and coexist with people of all tribes and religions. It cannot be attributed to the government. All sectors have been working together towards realisation of the Vision 2030 goals as well as the Big Four agenda.
In fact, the current downturn cannot be attributed to any individual. Many things that have happened recently are beyond our control. First it was the locusts, which affected farmers across Kenya and by extension every citizen who depends on buying local food and putting a meal on the table. The locust invasion is sweeping beyond East Africa due to climate change, a phenomenon that disproportionately affects certain regions of the world, and often the most poor.
Then came Covid-19, which no Kenyan expected. This virus is a global pandemic, and unfortunately, no matter how much we try to seal off our borders and isolate ourselves, it cannot be fully kept at bay.
This is the situation that we are in, and it does not help to deny the difficulties. Acknowledging that we are in a crisis is the best first step we can take to overcoming it.
Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once said that “the most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you’ll never have.” As a theologian and writer of critical texts on Christianity, religion, morality and ethics, Kierkegaard explored how an individual can prioritise his or her human reality over abstract thinking. How does a person make choices and commitment, and shape their lives as such?
What is the relevance of a Danish philosopher to Kenya’s situation today? The lesson we can take from him is that there is little that we humans can control, as much is beyond our power. Coronavirus, the locusts, climate change - what are we to do about it?
First, we must try not to dream about a different future and keep our feet firmly on the ground, in the current reality. We must all take steps to address the situation as is, rather than whine about what could have been.
God has a plan for each and every one of us, and while we make plans, He laughs. Kenyans are known to be optimistic. We must not let the negativity get us down. We must keep looking to the future in a positive way, keep on thinking of ways to move forward and help one another, to be compassionate like our father in heaven Jesus Christ.
Sure, we may have had plans for the future, and certain opportunities in the past. But that has changed. Is it too late for these plans? No. The tragedies affecting us do not mean Kenya is going to crash and burn, or that all of the momentum the people and the President have built over the past few years has hit a brick wall.
It just means we need to work a little harder to get there. It means we will have to be more patient and compassionate. We should take this as an opportunity to learn about faith and community.
It would be a mistake to allow these roadblocks to separate us as a nation, to ruin the peace that cobbled by political rivals turned allies.
It is our duty to look to the future, not considering what could have been, but how, in light of the reality on the ground, we can get to where we want to be. Eventually we will be just fine, as long as our resolve and commitment remain steadfast.
-The writer is a banker
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