It's tough, but let's give Kenyans hope of a brighter tomorrow

President William Ruto made his remarks on December 16, 2023, at Karen in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Coming hot on the heels of a highly contested general election with a mix of both financial and mostly emotional investments, 2023 was no doubt one of the most taxing years for many Kenyans. This situation was further compounded by the escalating cost of living occasioned by similar trends in the global market.

At the turn of the year, some could not see how the country would last a year – this was true irrespective of what side of the political or economic divide one was in. Twelve months on, here we stand, braving it all in the true Kenyan spirit. We have survived if not thrived and a bright new year awaits us in 2024.

As we enjoy during the festive season, one with absolutely no blemish as was the case in the recent years where it was either a Covid-19 Christmas or an election fever Christmas, this is the time to tap into our Kenyan spirit and be the sellers of hope for a more prosperous Kenya.

Indeed, 2024 will be a year like none before. It will be characterised by high foreign investor confidence as we are likely to witness one of the highest numbers of tourists visiting the country, thanks to the directive by President William Ruto that made Kenya one of the few visa-free destinations in the modern world. When we open our doors to the international market, what would we want to sell?

Selling hope to a nation, especially during the festive season, carries several benefits. Firstly, it uplifts collective spirits, fostering a positive outlook that transcends challenges. This emotional buoyancy can catalyse a sense of unity, patriotism, and shared optimism, contributing to social cohesion. For a moment, we can forget about our troubles and focus on the myriad blessings that we have.

Secondly, hope catalyses economic vitality. As people feel more optimistic about the future, they are likely to engage in spending and investment, stimulating economic activity. This surge in consumer confidence can be particularly impactful during the festive season, driving local commerce and international trade, supporting businesses, and creating a ripple effect across various sectors.

Moreover, the psychological benefits of hope cannot be overstated. In a season traditionally associated with joy and celebration, instilling hope can alleviate stress and anxiety. This positive mindset can have cascading effects on mental health, fostering resilience and coping mechanisms, ultimately contributing to a more robust and adaptable society. In the end, you become what you think, embrace hope and success will be yours to own.

Additionally, selling hope during the festive season can enhance social well-being. Acts of kindness and generosity tend to proliferate when hope is prevalent, creating a more compassionate and supportive community. This collective goodwill strengthens the social fabric, promoting a sense of belonging and shared responsibility.

Much like a strong beacon in a storm, hope serves as a guiding light, steering the nation through economic challenges and dispelling the clouds of uncertainty.

In the midst rising inflation, exemplified by the surge in prices of basic commodities, with many perhaps not even able to afford a decent meal for Christmas, it may appear as though all is lost but nay, Kenya always rises back and each year we get better. Now more than ever, it is crucial to underscore the power of optimism and sell it to all those around us.

Thankfully, our young nation has several examples to gain inspiration from. History reveals instances where nations weathered economic storms by simply fostering hope - Japan's post-war recovery and the South Korean economic miracle attest to this. By instilling hope, leaders can inspire innovation, resilience, and collective determination, igniting a transformation force and producing a vibrant society.

When things appear extremely bad, it is never the time to peddle more fear which feeds into the already generous servings of misinformation especially in the digital platforms. On the contrary, this is the time to be considerate, empathetic, and surrender to the possibilities of a brighter tomorrow. Even the best of doomsday prophesies have been proven wrong eventually by the resilient nature of the human will to thrive.  

Furthermore, misinformation, often a corrosive force in the modern era, emphasises the need for a counter-narrative rooted in hope. Analogous to a vigilant lighthouse cutting through foggy disinformation, a narrative of hope can guide citizens to make informed decisions.

It therefore goes without saying that through intentional branding, genuine, transparent communication, and practicing empathy, we can together dismantle the walls of falsehoods, fostering a society empowered by hope for a brighter future. Selling hope to Kenyans is not just a necessity but a duty. Hope, in essence, becomes the cornerstone upon which a brighter future for Kenya can be built.

So let us all go out there and light the Christmas trees in towns, villages, and homes and share the little we have with those considered less fortunate in society - hold each other’s hands and celebrate the far we have come as a nation as we prepare to take on 2024 with renewed hope.