Happy new year folks! I wish you all a lovely year – no perhaps that’s not true. I wish you all a restless year, the kind of restlessness that gets each of us to think of what our purpose in life is. But more so now, the Kenyan in you needs to be restless for this nation, for the leaders we have, for the upcoming elections, for the crossroads point we are in. Let me not get ahead of myself.
Last evening on my way home I felt as if my heart was just broken, really heartbroken! Yes I know the mantra for survival in Kenya is not to care enough that it hurts. I know the survival kit is to look away and pretend it does not bother me. I know that survival kit very well and I have worn it many a times. In fact I rarely watch news now, my survival kit. But this survival kit let me down yester, try hard as I may, I could not help but ‘feel’ and with that came the heart-break. Yes I have been told often that we should not get emotionally engaged with this nation but for a few minutes yester I could not help but do so. It afterall is my mother country and I love it to bits!
So I ended up ranting on my facebook wall; more from desperation or is it disappointment.
You see the MPs of this beautiful country, the guys we’ve entrusted with leading us just betrayed me yet again!! They passed a bill to for a take home package of Shs 9.3 million for each of them. As if that was not enough, they want me to pay for their bodyguards even after I kick them out of being my leader, did I mention this applies to their wives as well? They want me to treat them as VIP even after their term is over, but perhaps the nail in the coffin, they want a state funeral!! Really? A state funeral!! Even in their death they want to milk me out!!
To be fair, every employer needs a retirement package right! So why should I expect any different from my MPs you could ask? Well perhaps a good point, they after all have been such great leaders they should get all these and more, right?
But perhaps what annoys me most is not the cash it will cost me which is estimated at Shs 420B (full long term cost and I have n idea how we can sustain this for every other future MP), but let’s not even go there. What is most disappointing is this, in foresight, we as a nation voted in a new constitution that knew that no one should have to determine their own salary however good they may be. We therefore decided we would have a commission that would review the salaries of these people I call my leaders. So my biggest disappointment is not with the amounts they get as their retirement package, my disappointment is with the utter disregard to the constitution that they swore to uphold, the constitution that we spent billions in coming up with, it is just the impunity with which they passed this bill that simply brings bile to my stomach!
I have been too tolerant
Let us put this into context, as if it is not enough that these MPs are just some of the best paid in the WORLD, let us not even talk about us being a developing nations so such things should be illegal.
I have forgiven these MPs for lots, the mutilation of a constitution that I was excited about. The other day they legalized party hopping, I forgave them; before that they told me I cannot get the women representation I so vehemently voted for; before that they diluted the whole ethics and integrity thing we had so entrenched in this constitution. The utter broad daylight rape of a constitution, I forgave that.
Let us not even talk about the outright misuse of the constituency development funds or the allocation of 10B for selves to utilise in 2 weeks for constituency development – I could have asked how will they spends these cash in 2 weeks when they’ve not used an equivalent amount the whole year.
So I have been tolerant, very tolerant but I have had it?! I really have had it!
When I think of the insecurity in this country, the massacres in Tana River, the slashing of people in Mathare, the picture of the homeless people in Mathare slum after a night of vigilante attacks, I am left speechless. Did I mention that the nurses have been on strike for the last few months, for salary increases? Heck we should be leaders less! Maybe we’d be better off.
Today I read a post by someone who was busy advocating peace. Peace in mathare, peace in Tana River. Peace in the upcoming elections. And I knew we are such a naïve nation.
We are at the break of a transition, at crossroads. Our peace days are over. How do you call for peace in a country of such inequalities, such poverty? Do you really think those who perpetrated this acts care about peace, they are lashing out at stte their lives have been! Whether we realize it or not, our peace days are over.
Solution, well there is no shortcut. We must kick the kind of selfish leaders we have had out. We must look beyond our comfort zones and select a new breed of leaders, one that is interested in the nation than self, one that will know without my uproar just how immoral it is to pass a bill with this kind of retirement package. One that will know that what this nation needs is reforms that will hit the core of who we are, a fresh start that gives a chance to all. It will take time but the kind of leaders we have now do not have the balls to do it.
So calling for peace is very naïve, it is doing what as Kenyans we do best, turning a blind eye to the obvious. It is choosing the cheaper options than the hard route that really we no longer can have as a luxury.
2 horse race
Then I remember that elections are in 2 months’ time. You’d think that would excite me but it depresses me even more.
What with this elections being slated to be a 2 horse race!! How now??
One is facing serious charges in ICC n I can’t help but wonder if that’s the kind of president I want. Let us not even talk about the fact the guy cannot keep to a commitment to an alliance with a fellow leader. Let us not talk about how the tribal machine has gone all out, ‘he’s our person, if it were not for him we’d have been massacred in 2007’!! Crap – am sorry for the language but really, this for a leader, really!! This guy whose running mate is said to have organised for a church with women n children to be torched down in 2007 n many killed!! This running mate who has many court cases on land grabbing! Really!!
Oh then am reminded there’s another horse. One that has been in power for last 5 years, yes I know he was not the president but trust me for all intents n purposes he was governing us. I actually believe if it was 5 years ago, he probably would have made a better president that he would now. How can we now expect him to be any different? How when we are having such serious security issues and he has a very big title that would enable him to swing into action. Did I mention Tana River, and mathare and the many others that will spring up between now and march? The man he was 5 years ago would be up in arms against the mutilation of the constitution that is prevailing unabated, he would be on the front row fighting against this retirement package. Sadly that man is gone. You just need to pick a copy of yesters newspaper that was talking about how between him n the president they managed to allocate most senior offices to their cronies or relatives is a more decent word! And let us not even talk about the role he played in 2007 chaos, let us call what all these leaders did as the price for change, is that not what they have convinced us, each of them had such valid reasons why they sprung into the actions they did from the incitement to the massacres to the revenge.
How do we expect such people to be leaders who can uphold rule of law. Yes there was need for action but was the needed action murder! N let’s not talk about his corrupt deals or that all these MPs I can’t stand have their allegiance to either of these horses.
As a nation we forget fast. We justify many wrongs for all sort of shady reasons. I can even almost see someone criticising this blog on the basis that their person has done good. Of course he has, he had to do one or two things to blind us, but we deserve better?!
Desperate more than disappointed
So am desperate. I can’t see the way out.
As if that’s not enough, I look to my left on my way home. I see many homeless people. I face the biggest slum in Africa or perhaps the world. I see many walking home, yes they could have chosen to but something tells me they dint. Something tells me many of those women are troubled on what to feed their kids in the night. Something tells me this drunk guy trying to sell me something over my window is desperate. He has no clue what his family will be like tomorrow so he goes for the easy way out, drink himself out n if I give him a few seconds of time, he’ll try grab my bag! Something tells me this young street boy did not choose this lifestyle because there was much of an option. Something tells me the clutter and dirt on our streets will remain for a while. Something tells me the traffic mess, the road potholes are a thing that I need to live with. Something tells me the road carnage angry as it makes me is here to stay, heck those matatus are owned by the people who feel nothing for robbing me in broad daylight.
So yes am desperate, yes am angry at my MPs. Am wondering about these 2 horses. But in the midst of that God reminds me 3 things I must do:
- I must not forget this anger i feel – yes it is important I remind myself this, lest in 2 weeks the anger is gone and it is back to business as usual, yet…..
- Pray – the kind if challenges we have. The kind of miracles I want, well they are only in the hands of a Father. A Father who reminds me of 2002, a desperate time, but he chose a leader for us. One who was on a wheelchair and was not coherent. One who was picked from nowhere n called tosha. His hand was in it then n in all his faults, this man was God’s choice. So I pray to the same God for nothing short of a miracle. Heal our land. Restore Lord.
- I must vote with my conscience. In btw all these thoughts i hear that Bishop Adoyo (former CITAM head) is running for senator n I know God ain’t done yet. But I must vote wisely. I must not vote in horses, but seemingly unpopular leaders who stand for something. I must be courageous enough to not flow with the wave. I must stop limiting my options to 2 horses. I must see the bigger picture, that if we all stopped and voted with our conscience, perhaps we may stand a chance? Mine ends there, but there I must. COZ WE GET THE LEADERS WE TOLERATE!
Then I know peace. I know it will be well. I will have my played my part – I can live with that. I speak life you are gonna live Kenya. You will prevail. I can’t give up in you, you shall live and not die.
- Politicians behind chaos in Mathare, claims Karua (nation.co.ke)
- Kenyan MPs in repeat bonus vote (bbc.co.uk)