Johnson Kimanzi: Change is yet to come

As I walk and talk to the regular folk everywhere, one thing that is clear is that majority of we Kenyans are very UNHAPPY. Among the things I hear ; ‘I am unhappy because my neighbor wants me to view him as my friend even after the damage he caused to my property after the announcement of the disputed 2007 elections’, ‘I am unhappy because my neighbor is dying of hunger while billions and billions of taxpayers money is disappearing into the pockets of a small clique of people who call themselves “leaders” just to camouflage their greed for power and money’, ‘I am unhappy because my maize or wheat harvest cannot be sold at a break-even price despite of the labor and the money I spent to ensure that the harvest is of the best quality’, ‘I am unhappy because despite being a teacher for 15 years, I still can’t afford to pay my child’s university tuition fees instead I have to remain in debt for the rest of my life to ensure that my children get the best in life’, ‘the price of maize meal is so high this year , to avoid overstretching our monthly budget, my children are getting a smaller portion of ugali compared to last year’.

These are just a few among many problems that we face. But I believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel because the end of last year and the beginning of this year, something extraordinary happened. We Kenyans put aside our differences in race, gender, social status, tribe, religious, beliefs, political affiliation and age to come together to celebrate the nomination, victory and inauguration of Barrack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. For those of us who are optimists, this restored the hope that positive change will come, if not in our generation but in the next one. This restored hope that Kenya being a nation of diversity, can come together for a common cause.

The desire to unite coupled with other common values and goals that hold the citizens of this country together should be the platform of achieving the change we want. The hard work and the desire to prosper should be harnessed to create the energy to counter attack the negativity created in the society by those who use our differences to create divisions among us. Everywhere I go the dreams and aspirations of every Kenyan are same. Everyone unanimously agrees that they want price of basic needs to be affordable, leaders to fulfill the promises they pledge before getting into public office, devolution of power from the Central Government, corruption in central and local governments to end, Members of parliament to be more accountable in the way they spend CDF e.t.c. All we Kenyans want is a government that represents the face of the people and not the faces of the few who hold positions of power.

I don’t want to sound pessimistic or to go out of line with the above desires, but I want to stress unless WE change ourselves, we will not live to see a better Kenya. We need to change our attitudes in the way we approach politics and politicians; we need to change the traits we look into an individual before casting our vote for him or her, we need to stop looking at every member of parliament/government officer with skepticism and give the benefit of doubt to those in power that have good and genuine values and motives, we need to stop approaching our problems with bitterness, anger, blame-games and other negative emotions. Instead we should look at the positive lessons that are learnt from the mistakes of the ones before us, we should learn to appreciate that our nation is a multicultural centre and there’s so much to learn from your neighbor even though you don’t share same background, religious beliefs, language or hometown. We need to replace the fear and divisions created by a few and replace it with it the love, strength and courage that we share with millions of others.

We should stop blaming the government for everything that is not right in our nation. We should stop expecting the government to solve every problem that we encounter in our lives. We should stop blaming our politicians for the poor leadership they portray because we had a part to play in that since we are the ones who elected them. Unless you and I work on changing ourselves, CHANGE IS YET TO COME

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