Open Letter To All Leaders From The Mt Kenya Community

Centre for Strategic & International Studies

Dear Waheshimiwa, Greetings,

We salute you as citizens of this great nation, Kenya. Whilst we are citizens of the Republic of Kenya, we have been endowed by providence with traditional, cultural and regional identities which raise specific issues that require our particular attention and action. That is why we further salute you as members of the Mt Kenya community.

We write you this open letter after observing with utmost concern the political direction that the region appears to be heading in the recent weeks. We are aware that you have daunting responsibilities as elected leaders. Besides your national legislative obligations, your constituents look upon you to guide their political, social.economic and development agenda. As Waheshimiwa, you are the representatives of the collective aspirations and hopes of the people that you represent.

Succession Talk
Of late however, these collective aspirations and hopes have been reduced to one item-the clamour for political power, succession bickering and jockeying for prominence. Your noble calling to serve the people has been relegated to play second fiddle to your personal dreams and ambitions. All of a sudden, it is no longer about the people who turned out in large numbers to vote for you; rather it is about who is well positioned in the path to glory, power and personal gain.

There is nothing wrong with ambition. As the legendary Masinde Muliro once said, if you have no ambition, get the hell out of politics. But perhaps in the pursuit of your ambitions, you may want to be guided by the Holy Book. Mathew 20:20-28 narrates to us how the mother of James and John told Jesus of her wish to have her two sons sitting at each side of Jesus in heaven. Jesus' reply should inform all of you clamouring for high offices and succession. He told the mother of James and John that it was not him to decide, rather the positions she was seeking for her sons were for those who had been prepared by Cod his Father.

If you internalize the above teaching from the holy book, you will realize that the current succession talk is nothing but vanity of vanities. If you take time to listen to the current undercurrents within the Mt Kenya region, you will realize that the last thing that the people who elected you want to hear about is power and succession.

Our people want to hear solutions to the myriad issues and challenges that afflict them. They want you to fulfill the promises and pledges that you gave while campaigning last year. With all due respect, we advise you to hearken to the voices of our people or risk losing their patience permanently.

We like your current talk of succession and political positioning. But in the name of Cod Almighty your current talk of succession is an abomination to the hundreds of thousands of the internally displaced persons dDP's) currently languishing in various camps in this cold winter. As you are aware, a disproportionately overwhelming majority of these IDP'S are blood relatives of the Mt. Kenya communities. Their situation is so dire and grave that some of them have been reported to have resorted to prostitution for survival. The ones who have gone back to their farms are sleeping in the cold, living in pathetic sub-human conditions. Their children are not going to school, unlike your children. They have no food, they have no money, they have no shelter, they have no hope.

As of December, 2007, these people were doing just fine. The only "crime" they ever committed to deserve what they are going through was that they were presumed to have voted in line with the Mt Kenya community. Our appreciation to them is through succession talk while they languish in an abyss of despair. These people will hold you guilty forever. Their patience is running out, they want solutions today before tomorrow. They want immediate resettlement; they want immediate and fair compensation.

The IDP'S demand of you that you stand up and speak out for them so they can regain the dignity in their lives. Sorry to disappoint you, they would not care less who will be the next President of the Republic of Kenya. They want action and the jury is out.

Youth and Jobs
Other than the IDP'S, waheshimiwa, there is another group that is equally if not more sick of your succession talk. That is the forgotten youth in the Mt Kenya region. During the campaigns, you promised to deliver to them the moon on the one hand and the sun on the other. But have a look at their situation. Majority of our youth are rotting in the shopping centres across our region where they idle away their productive days In hopelessness and anger. They want jobs, not succession. They have laid their hopes for a decent living with you, Waheshimiwa.

They wonder where you get time to talk about succession when you are meant to be extremely busy planning and executing programmes that will give them jobs and other forms of economic empowerment. They want to hear you talk, they love your voices but they would rather you talk about the continued harassment and persecution of young people in the region for the crime of being jobless. The youth of Mt Kenya region are waiting for you to stand up for them and the jury is out.

National Healing
Honourable ladies and gentlemen, the recent events that followed the General Elections of 2007 have brought to the fore the need for all of us to re-dedicate ourselves to the principle of a united, unitary and indivisible nation called Kenya, in this regard, as leaders of the Mt Kenya community, you have a responsibility to lead our region in continuously building bridges with the rest of the country. This is not unique to you as Mt Kenya leaders.

The same is demanded of leaders from other regions. Our nation needs time to heal. Kenyans have been deeply hurt and scarred by the events that rocked this country since December 27", 2007. They need a break, period! The current succession talk by Mt Kenya leaders flies in the face of the healing process. Forgive us, but in the wake of the healing process, your current squabbles on succession are not helping much in the healing process. Your actions have the risk of further isolating Mt Kenya from the rest of the country. We will be seen as a people too eager to run after a fly while Rome is burning.

Uprooting of Tea and coffee
You have realized that an increasing number of our people are uprooting tea and coffee. Their patience has run out. They have given their leaders enough time to fix the problems in tea, coffee and other agricultural sectors. Since you started these meaningless fights for succession, the rate of uprooting has gone up a notch higher. Why? Our people have realized that you will not have the space any time soon to think about reforming the tea and coffee sectors. Kindly read the mood of our people and align yourselves accordingly.

Constitutional Reform
While you are busy fighting each other, others are busy preparing for the forthcoming constitutional reform. You are aware that the Mt Kenya communities, like all other regions have major stakes in the re-writing of the constitution. Various longstanding issues that have affected our community negatively can and should be addressed in the forthcoming process. Top on the agenda is the issue of a fair distribution of the constituencies.

The people of Mt Kenya region want to hear you address the skewed distribution of constituencies that have continued to place an unbearable burden on you as members of parliament thus affecting service delivery to them. They want to see you working towards a permanent settlement and solution to the outstanding questions so that the rights to life and property are made sacrosanct in the new constitution.

They want their rights to settle anywhere in the country affirmed and protected. You as their leaders would do yourselves a lot of good if you spent more time standing up for those rights than scratching each other's face in the name of succession.

Education in Crisis
Our community has historically placed a very high premium on education, in fact, education and enterprise are pillars of our community. Yet, waheshimiwa, none of you can look at us in the eye and claim that you are proud of the status of education in the Mt Kenya region. Our educational institutions, facilities and standards have continued to falter over the years. Urgent action is required to uplift them. You are better off focusing on that than in these distractive talks about succession.

Inaccessible Leaders
if you never knew, compared with the rest of the country, leaders in Mt Kenya region are perceived by their own people to be disconnected to their needs. You have an onus to bridge the gap between the leaders and the people. Our people want leaders who are close and accessible to the common man. if you were, you would realize that they want you to prioritize their problems over your succession issues.

Youthful Leadership
During the last General Elections, our people voted for a very high number of youthful members of parliament, just like the other regions did. In fact over 85% of our M.P's in the region are young. It is imperative upon these youthful M.P's to rise up to the challenge and lead our region towards not only solving the above challenges, but also towards greater heights of prosperity for the Mt Kenya region.

Sense of Priorities
In a nutshell, we request that you work towards solving the problems of our people. It is too early to confuse our people through succession talk, we would like to remind all and sundry that we have had many presidential candidates in the past and thus there is nothing magical, unique or even wrong about having presidential candidates in 2012. Since 1992, Mwai Kibaki, Mukaru Nganga, Koigi wa Wamwere, Waweru Ngethe, Wangari Maathai, Godfrey Kabeeria Mwireria, Dr Munyua waiyaki, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenneth Matiba and Bishop Pius Muiru have all vied for the Presidency. They are all from the Mt Kenya region. Nobody interfered with their democratic right, just as no one will interfere with your democratic right to vie in 2012.

The question is: - With the foregoing issues and challenges, with the iDP's still in the camps, with our youth roaming the villages and urban centers without jobs, with our farmers uprooting tea and coffee, with the country still trying to heal from the post-election wounds, with the constitutional reforms still not started, with our education in crisis, do you people have a sense of priorities?

Kindly ponder over these matters otherwise political oblivion is approaching fast and furious.

Moses Kuria Secretary General
Timothy M. Muriuki Chairman

Centre for Strategic and international Studies.

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