What the President did not tell us on Mashujaa day
By Harrison Ikunda | October 22nd 2015
Celebrating our heroes is a great ritual and we are obliged to share their sacrifices in a small way by recoginizing them in such a day - hence Mashujaa day. Nonetheless, we are also obligated to take stock of our shortcomings as a country and as individuals whilst looking forwarding to make the future better. President Kenyatta being at the helm has more responsibility than anyone else to seize the moment to make Kenya a great nation.
His speech on Mashujaa day this year though had some inspiring anecdotes, was however not complete. Without mentioning that this country has shortcomings by her people in tribalism and corrupt practices that need to be tamed missed a critical point. Servants like teachers are an unhappy lot and so are the masses suffering immense economic problems. The current economic situation is untenable and there are quick wins that should be done to stop the mess. There are economic tools to tame the adverse slide but there are deeper issues such as corruption that are stagnating this nation. No nation has ever achieved greatness with the level of greed that we have in Kenya.
Our tribal divisions and feelings are other great contributors to the backwardness that we suffer. Unfortunately, in Kenya, resources have been seen and believed to fall to fall base on ethnic access to state largess hence the frequent rhetoric on of national cake. The frequent shouts that or we are in government or not by political leaders rhyme this theme. Indeed if you dig deeper on the source of the 2007/2008 ethnic skirmishes after the disputed presidential poll, it had so much to do with competition for access to state power for resources much as it had underlying problems associated with land in Kenya.
From my research, tribal feelings are too strong and entrenched in the psyche of Kenyans and it will take time for them to minimize or get eradicated. Without successful structural changes in resource allocation and power competition this will remain a problem. It is particularly a problem with endemic poverty as it is easy to see others as a problem.Kenya's politicians have perfected the art of blame game – that of directing the hate or the blame to others.
As aforementioned unless we tame the greed and the tribal mess we are in we can kiss goodbye to greatness. Unfortunately much as President Uhuru Kenyatta did not create or start this mess he has to obliterate them if at all he hopes to build a worthy legacy. We are already confronting economic problems of monstrous proportion. It will take a lot of courage and plenty of measures to get us out of the rut. Key among them is to stop wastage and engage aggressive tax revenue collections while cracking down on evasions and avoidance tricks.
With the ugliness of corruption and tribalism always lurking it won’t be easy but it has to be done. Try finding out why we are poor, have security problems, have issue in paying good salaries, are unable to produce goods cheaply or are unable to provide decent services and you won’t miss corruption of some time back or present.
I normally wish everybody with good intentions and drive to make something positive for a better life well. So naturally, I wish the president well to achieve something great for this nation. Of course I have not forgotten the heroes and heroines who sacrificed so much for this nation or are still are. What is of great concern is that so much has to be made right for this nation to tick. With so much bitterness and feeling of deficiency that you see with many, we certainly have so much to do. That said I would only tell Mr. President that – the road ahead will demand a lot more courage and deftness from you.
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Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda
RESEARCHER AND CONSULTANT
The Writer is also a CEO of a Significant Business Membership Organization, Trustee of several Ngos – some outside Kenya, and is mainly based in Kenya.
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