Keep the fire burning!

February 23, 2009
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, NAIROBI, February 23 – The Chinese say that life is like a tapestry.  From the back, it seems like a jungle of unconnected meaningless threads, but when you turn the tapestry over, there is a perfect pattern and design.

In my life, I have held down many a job and business for various reasons that served me in my time of need.  From each of the different scenarios, I have garnered knowledge, values and wisdom that could not have been learned in a classroom.  Interestingly, I have also been able to harness the energy from those varying experiences and use it as a resource when a situation called for prompt decision-making.  Looking back now, even though I would have preferred to get where I am in the shortest manner possible, I comprehend that life is the mundane weaving of the tapestry. To have a richly lived life demands that we make the best of each situation; no matter how good or bad it may seem.

Having said that, I question whether we as Kenyans are weaving a masterpiece tapestry that we can look back on and be proud to stake a claim in?  I wonder if the challenges, the problems, the lows and the highs will in the end make it all worthwhile.  Sadly, I have the unsettling feeling that we are more like an orchestra, far removed from creating any masterpiece.  For those who really try, we may think that we are doing our part to make this Kenya the country of our dreams, but really we are just playing to the tune of a conductor whose inspiration we do not know.

Why am I saying this?  It is because there seems to be a thread linking all the scandals rocking our beloved country.  The scenes of these scandals when played out in Parliament are like a show on the Discovery Channel.  One can almost feel the pulsating beat of a drum that provides the background music.  Better still, when the Honourable Khalwale rocks on his feet while presenting a censure motion, TV viewers can almost envision a lion about to take off and pounce on its prey.  And at that moment, there is hope that no mortal is mightier than justice.  But alas! The conductor plays his hand and the citizens are left questioning whether this coalition has been created to scratch the backs of the mighty few.

This is the same scenario that played out in the stock market.  Investor confidence has waned so badly in the wake of the scandals rocking that market, that even the smallest shareholder has seriously contemplated investing in Government Securities were it not for the hurdles making it very difficult.  Therefore, when the minister in charge of that docket talked about making radical changes to renew investor confidence, shareholders were filled with optimism that perhaps their shares were not just valueless pieces of paper.  They were filled with the sense that perhaps, there is someone still working in Government who is driven by a noble calling.  Unfortunately, the conductor waved his hand again and the bubble that is our hope was burst, when a Chairman who admitted to not knowing the people running the stock market was appointed.  In a country so richly endowed with a youth that is leaned and has great potential for leading, why do we keep recycling leadership as if it is a birthright?

This is the reason why I feel as if we are being taken for a ride.  We imagine that our leaders, albeit a few chosen ones, will lead us to the Promised Land.   But in the end, it is all an illusion and they end up unwittingly playing to the tune of a song which we do not partake of.  I am at a loss of what we need to do as Kenyans to ensure that we weave a rich tapestry that lives behind a great legacy for our children. 

One thing I know for sure is that we cannot afford to lose hope.  Our young people must soldier on – devoid of apathy, regardless of feeling like we are playing to the tune of a phantom conductor.  It may take a generation, but our youth must keep the fire and vision burning enough to light our way to the Promised Land.  May God bless our country and may He sustain our vision for a better tomorrow. 

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