SECTIONS

Ordinary Kenyans yet to enjoy fruits of our hard fought independence

Celebrations when Kenya became a Republic in December 12, 1964 [File]

Do you recall the talk of ‘matunda ya uhuru’?

Few have anything to celebrate for Kenya’s hard worn independence. Joblessness, hopelessness, glaring inequalities, injustice, name it! Yet, did it have to be this way?

Is this what our forefathers (and mothers) who fought gallantly to free us from bondage of colonialism envisioned? Perhaps no one could put the ‘matunda ya uhuru’ mantra better than the late Cabinet Minister Stanley Oloitiptip.

I once heard that the minister spent Sh2 million on the wedding of one of his children rumoured to be about 65. If he was to spend the same on each of them, we would be talking of about Sh130 million, easily equivalent to today’s Sh1 billion-plus, just on children’s weddings alone.

At that time, our parents had to struggle to raise fare to ferry us in “OTC Buses” from rural homes to Nairobi.

Then, only Nairobi boasted of universities. Fast forward. If you belong to the class of ‘chosen few’, you would wonder, like Oloitiptip: What’s wrong with Kenyans? Can’t they just partake of ‘matunda ya uhuru’? The Uhuru administration has blown off the public debt to unimaginable levels. But have the returns trickled down to all citizens? Certainly not. Woe unto you if you are not a former ‘somebody’; president, vice, prime minister, et cetera.

The lucrative retirement perks, complete with a retinue of bodyguards and at times, chase cars can overwhelm. You would think they own Kenya. The very people born with a silver spoon deny others even the basic pension granted by Parliament. One would think it pays to be on the wrong side of history, to be opportunistic, to be a home-guard and align with the oppressor.

One can be forgiven to think there are two worlds a part, one struggling to eke a living and the other changing flashy cars and splashing cash to unsuspecting, cheering crowds as if there is no tomorrow.

The leaders seem to care only about themselves, families and buddies. They appear completely oblivious of the anger and pain afflicted on the commoners. They now even imagine Kenyans aren’t intelligible enough to chart their own future!

The level of apprehension and disillusionment is legion. One need not look beyond the level of apathy in potential young voters who instead elect not to register, especially in the so-called strongholds of the major political formations.

The disenchantment is even more pronounced among Kenyans abroad. The same can be deduced from the uncharacteristically high numbers of undecided voters reported daily by pollsters.

Yet to stay away from the vote is simply to allow bad leadership to keep running amok, and driving the country aground! This is why all eligible Kenyans must take the vote, and when the time comes cast it decisively to reject bad leaders.

Hopefully, more options that are credible enough to restore the dignity of the Kenyan, and give the country back to Kenyans will emerge to choose from. A Kenya that is just, free, equitable, prosperous and cohesive. A Kenya where merit and excellence rule, not paternalism, banditry, clientelism and greed.