Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Challenging the New School of Thought

As I peruse through the Nation newspaper today (Kenyan newspaper), I come across a slide of pictures taken during a meeting dubbed "Raising leaders of integrity", well attended by Members of Parliament and representatives of both the government and the people of Kenya. Below every slide is an array of comments from readers of the newspaper. At first glance, the pictures and title of the event are full of promise, but as I keep reading the comments left by my fellow Kenyans, the lack of hope, trust, faith and respect for our government and politicians is more than evident. The very first picture for instance, is one of an array of MPs bowing their heads in prayer and is followed by a comment stating the following:
"Good luck to the conveners of this meeting and their attempts of marrying integrity and politicians together. It would be much easier to mix water and crude oil. Even prayers couldn't figure out that miracle."
Slide after slide, comment after comment is filled with a lack of faith, a lack of hope, a lack of trust. It's almost as though...no strike that..it is definitely as though we have given up on our government, and our people and we are just going through the motions waiting for all of it to be over. These comments immediately evoke thoughts in my mind as I realize that they epitomize many of our thinking patterns as far as politics, and social issues are concerned. As I kept thinking about this, and trying to figure out whether these comments were warranted, it dawned on me that our people have let us down. We keep electing representatives and we keep getting disappointed. This is a fact that has repeated itself over and over again in the course of history, so why do we never learn?
I have a theory I would like to share with you. We, for the most part, are raised in a culture where respect for our elders is KEY and what a beautiful value to acquire, if you ask me. Here's the glitch. We take on a whole different meaning to respect. Respect, many of us are taught, is a lot of things, among them doing what one is asked to do, no questions asked. This was taught to our grandparents, who taught our parents, who taught us. So then here come these people that feel they have a calling to serve their communities by representing them in government and come election time, they bombard us with promises, most of which die with their election.
I believe that the mentality that most gamers/politicians use to their advantage is that they can't fool all the people all the time, but if they fool the right ones, then the rest will follow behind. My challenge to us, as a new school of thought is to stop being fooled and instead seek and cherish the value in asking questions. We need to be self taught, we need to be seekers of information, we need to be knowledge craved, and we most definitely need to have intellectual self reliance. This to me, is the only way we will be able to make our leaders accountable for their actions and it's the only way that will help us elect people that will actually get the job done. Put simply, if we don't ask, then how are we to find a correlation between where we were yesterday, where we are now and where we want to be tomorrow? With this in mind, the leaders we choose to represent us may very well be charismatically challenged, that we can deal with...but they MUST, they MUST have resolute integrity.
Democracy my friends, is more than government bound, its more than civic duty..its a culmination of those things along with values, attitudes and practices and if we don't learn how to hold ourselves and those that represent us in our government and life in general accountable, then our democracy is shot.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

its about time we as the new school of thought stood upo and said enough is enough..as they say we are the leaders of tomorrow,so why are letting those we have elected rob us blindly..innocents died while fighting for the so called democracy,"haki yetu" they chanted..where are those voices now when hunger has tightened its grip on our citizens,when poverty and joblessnes beats the morning sun...
someone once said history is repeated when there is no lesson learnt..its been 40 plus years...have we learnt our lesson yet my fellow kenyans?...

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing, everything you've said we all know, most of us anyway I hope. Our leaders are crap, FACT. They lack integrity, FACT. And most of them are in it to get themselves a big piece of the 'national cake'- they are there to make themselves wealthy. Now, you asked why don't we ever learn? Why do we keep electing them? My question to you is do we really have a choice? Where are the new faces? Year after year its the same politicians running for office. So vote or not, either way, they will continue to make decisions for us as a nation, and very bad ones at that. Another problem I think is that we (Kenyans) don't speak out. Fine, everyone shares their opinion with friends at the bar having heated debates etc, but as a nation, we don't collectively SPEAK OUT!We have the occasional demonstrations is town like the media professionals denouncing the media bill(which I know you don't agree with but thats w whole other discussion)but out of a whole country of 30 something million, that doesnt even count as 1% of our population. Do you think those MP's are phased by that? Do you think it changed their train of thought? We(Kenyans) need to do something radical, we need to get serious and get ourselves heard. If even the whole of Nairobi, all 3 million of us showed up infront of parliament and said we want accountability and we want them out, don't you think that would spur change? These people need to feel the pressure. We should make it so hot for them that they think they're burning. If you think of situations such as the abolishion of apartheid and the release of Mandela, the WHOLE SOUTH AFRICAN NATION said enough was enough and demanded his release. Think of our own Maumau as well. Reality is that most of us are too scared to make ourselves heard. Unfortunately, I see us a far cry from any change.

Gigee Nyaga said...

thanks for your comments. funny enough i was having the same conversation with someone yesterday. i definitely think you hit the nail on the head as far as us not having fresh faces to pick from. The reality of the situation is all these people choose to run with the right intent..originally anyway. they all want to make a difference, but when they get there they get side tracked.im yet to think up a solution for that. as far as kenyans coming together to stop this rampant disease, the problem i think is that most of us dont care enough. i think we've given up.im really hoping that this blog makes a difference, even in the slightest way.hopefully it will create an awareness of sorts especially for the young generation because i really believe we can change things,but only if we're fed up enough.

Mugure G said...

Yeah....for sho we need a new school of thought....coz our current breed of leaders disgust us, yet we keep re-electing them. There's a photo exhibition showing by GO-down in Nairobi. It's called 'Kenya Burning'. It shows the Post election violence in picture, stuff never seen before. Somehow i wish they could get to go to every town....so that Kenyans can see & choose to stop being bought for a mere beer or 100bob. If there's an online link to the pics, al post it for u.

Great work. Najivunia kuwa Mkenya pia :)

Amsy said...

I have to agree with you, I am not Kenyan nor do I pretend to know how governance is like, there but I know the correlation with other African countries and even other global communities. I say along with an appetite for knowledge and intellectual freedom, a health distrust of our government could not hurt either, a constant eye on them pushing them to do their job, which at the end of the day is to empower US: those who have given the stewardship of our everyday.

Gigee Nyaga said...

Amsy,
It's great to see a non-Kenyan reading and commenting on the issues that I believe handicap us as Africans. A lot of our issues are inter-related and I believe much of what I speak on does reflect on what is going on not just in Kenya, but in Africa as a whole. We definitely need to have a more observant eye, a sixth sense if you will, and the ability and courage to question some poor choices made by our governments. I believe its healthy and more than that, it's very necessary in the journey to becoming an Africa that's independent, and an Africa that's socially, economically and politically stable.

Truthspeak

Irinah Wandera said...

Hey,
The Kenyan situation is very sad indeed but there is still hope. Kenya is awakening and while there is still hope, we shall pursue our dream. National pride I realized is what we must first possess before we salvage the situation because if we lose it then we might as well let the nation go to the dogs. It is what makes us want to see change so that we may gain the respect of all for indeed we are a great nation. I for one say we should ignore this leaders, you know, total black out. and since they are so used to the limelight, they will feel the cold. when they realise that no one is no longer interested in what they have to say, they will take time to reflect. For we have made them like small gods and they think we cant survive without them but we can. we can do without them. Lets celebrate the achievements of great Kenyans who continue raising our flag so high up in the sky. while there is still hope, lets work hard, let those of us who have knowledge empower those who dont have. let us carry each other, let us encourage each other. These few men, cannot bring a whole nation on its knees. Kenyans are awakening and those that continue to sleep will be shocked when they awake. A revolution is coming and when we have got all Kenyans on one side, then these fellows are going to be in for a lot of trouble. From Steve Biko's 'I write what I Like' I realised that for as long as there is hope, we are going to see a new dawn. Steve Biko and Martin Luther King, Jnr did not live to see their dreams come alive, but you and I are living witnesses to these their dreams. We might not live to see our dream come to reality but I promise you, things will change and those after us will bear witness. So lets carry that hope with us, let us dream and let us start the journey that will lead us to our destiny - The Kenya we want, the Kenya for all Kenyans. A country we shall all be proud of. God Bless Kenya and God bless you.