Kenya at 50: Is there anything to show for, Are we there yet?

Last Updated on 13 October 2013 by Gertrude

As a country we have made big strides to be where we are but is there anything to be proud of? From the days of walking miles of kilometers to and from home to school or hospital, giving birth in the house through midwives, sending letters through neighbours and taking months before arrival. Now we are embracing the digital age of a growing nation but are we there yet? Is there any good in these developments since Mzee Jomo died? So many transitions have taken place in the country from the dreaded Moi days, the Kibaki era and the Grand Coalition government to the Uhuruto reign.

The questions to ask now is what have you as an individual achieved and ask where are you headed, still, as an individual and country. We have a long way to go, isn’t it? But, we have to say thank you for the far we have come. We attribute the success to God and to the Founder of this nation who inspired freedom, though most say he was a tribalist, I wasn’t there to judge.

There are several leaders whom we attribute our progress to like Achieng Oneko, Bildad Kaggia, Fred Kubai, the MauMau Fighters, et al, who fought to make sure we are a liberal nation away from the hungry colonialists.

There are several issues we have had to change too, like the era of mono-party to hundreds of political parties, thanking leaders like Kenneth Matiba for their relentless wars to end one party rules and policy. Sure they got jailed, tortured but they fought and won. Entered the Kibaki era which we all knew would be a game-changer, YES and NO. Still there was even more corruption, hate, tribalism, nepotism and discrimination among people across the region. YES, in this period we saw the growth from satelite phones which were sold at exorbitant prices to big telecompanies like Safaricom. To the liberalisation of media houses. Remember, when broadcasting anything concerning the president was illegal and the solution was the infamous torture chambers? During the Kibaki era, all these changed and the promotion of talent was of essence, hence the growth of groups like Redykyulass, with the likes of John Kiarie, Nyambane and Tony Njuguna to Churchill all mimicing the weakness, strength and areas of improvement for the incumbent?

Education has taken tremendous strides, look at how many educated fellows we have, the degrees offered and the growing number of professors. Significant growth has been witnessed but still lurking in the promotion of these talents due to lack of avenues to promote the youths and people of this country through educational programmes. Growth and promotion of businesses is the in- thing now, whether you have passed through the system or not, self employment is what is in. Unemployment is on the rise but this can be improved if youths stop being lazy!

We have to sample the pros of all these improvements and see the areas to take into serious account here.

1. Technology,though, many Information Technology gurus are in the market, we still are behind in one or two aspects of this field… no internet provider in this country is up to it’s game! There is absolutely no competition for Safaricom. Safaricom, after it’s tenth decade in the country, there is still nothing to show for, high and hiked prices for surfing the internet, though high speed internet, there still needs to be better services. No rewarding of loyal customers and their customer care unit is wanting. Where is Orange, Airtel and Yu, we need to see them give Safaricom a run for their money and not recycle Safaricom’s products like the Mpesa, one of the most dynamic mobile money transfers in the world! We want faster internet connection for modems, mobiles and affordable for all folks, because without technology,we are heading nowhere.

2. Unemployment. What is the importance of having so many established universities and university colleges without having a solid platform for where these students will go to afterwards? It makes education seem pointless. First,look at the congestion in the public primary schools? How can a teacher cater for 150 pupils in a small squeezed muddy classroom, I applaud these teachers who take chances with their health for a meagre salary that they dare not deliver services reasonably, only the brighter students in their classrooms,benefit. There is absolutely no motivation in the teaching field considered, a noble profession. No wonder many pupils give up due to deplorable situations, teachers strikes yet we say we have made strides? But there is something I will not forget, education and it’s emphasis on women and girls-Kimani Maruge, R.I.P. Big applause to the free primary education,but is it all free(topic for another day)!

3, Kenyan Universities are now ranking top in the world competing with the likes of Harvard, though not there, we are almost there. There is a downfall though, where are the brains of Kenya? Brainwash! After education, most graduates take the hard acquired knowledge abroad, to benefit other nations at the expense of our country, all in the name of little or no pay or lack of the promised jobs.

4, Corruption. This is a huge problem and we have tried to deal with it to no avail,we have even ranked among the most corrupt countries in Africa if not the world,not so proud about this.What do we do when whistleblowers like The Former Ehtics PS, John Githongo, (correct me when am wrong on facts) blew the Infamous Goldenberg Saga into the open? Threats and warnings,is what was served on his table for us to see how this story was huge and invovled the ”untouchables of Kenya”, Lords of corruption! We all know the story. Just recently ,the 300billion lost? Let’s think collectively,what happens when a country is a ‘lodging for the corruption’? Here’s another cliche ”The rich become richer while the poor wallow in adverse poverty”! Progress? None will be made if some amass wealth for themselves at the expense of the taxpayers and common man (mwananchi).

5, Tribalism. Imagine, we are still being taught of awareness Togetherness and looking beyond the tribe. Laughable, isn’t it? During campaigns leaders are requested to preach peace to the mass. There had to be lots of peace campaigns.
Here begs the question, couldn’t we uphold peace without being reminded to do it? Why people? How do we make progress with no peace, why do we hate each other so much, we hacked each other to death during the 2007 election, how did we benefit? Why are we still engrossed by the Tribe Syndrome, why don’t we just bring up our kids as Global Citizens of Peace, Love and Unity? How do we achieve Vision 2030 goals with no peace? Sycophancy has to stop ,let’s do this people. This Political Syndrome we got, ‘our man’, ‘our tribe’ is letting us down and we are draining…fast. Stand up and say, ”Mr.Politician, we are aware you are not here for peace, we are from your tribe, but this time… Go To Hell With Hate Remarks”!!!

6, Social Media War … we went from physical war, now, digital age of terrorism. I read Angela Ambitho’s article in The Standard Newspaper, I love how she analyses the Digital war amounting to digital terrorism! She asks which is better, the digital terrorism or the physical one? ‘Who are we to judge the terrorists then’,She asks.
I concur with her, social media is a place to interact, not to prove the right and wrong, but to correct out brother’s mistakes, to socialise, to engage but not in bitter verbal gibber exchanges amounting to nothing but hate. When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook, he dint intend for it to be a war zone but for family, friends to meet or re-unite, why then are we using the social media for obscene exchanges, baseless and useless arguements…instead, we should use this time to create jobs… on line jobs! Create companies, websites, selling sites and writing sites.

7, Hunger and poverty. The Global Indexing of Kenya is quite poor, we lag behind due to the number of hungry people, a hungry under-fed nation means no progress, beggars and living below the dollar bill a day is becoming a norm. I wonder what we shall do when we are a hundred million, in the population, shall we cater for the starving? What aren’t we doing right? We got shambas to work on, why aren’t the citizens assured of food secirity, what are we missing?

We have many areas to look into and improve we have to work together for the sake of the next generation, they need an awesome Kenya.. We have to create a conducive environment for others. It is up to you to decipher what you want, first for you and your kid(s), then, for the country. Do you believe we have developed or done anything at all at 50? We have come from far and still have a long way to go, a few aspects of our reasoning has to be altered or else we shall remain there, wishing we were China, USA, Singapore because we refused to change.

Let’s Stand up for Peace, prosperity and good of Kenya. I am proud to be Kenyan, are you? Change begins with you and me, are you bracing yourself up for new Kenya at 50? Let’s divorce Corruption, tribalism, sycophancy and just like a 50 year old bouncing back to life after divorce, begin a new Kenya!!!

But the big question is ” Are we there yet?” Share and interact.. the podium is all set!

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