June 2009 will go down in the history of Kenya as a month that ended with a bang! Not because it was the end or the start of a financial year, but also a great time to take stock of what is happening in our lives.
June brought about the death of a pop icon that greatly influenced my life with his music and passion for Africa. Well… that and his fashion sense.
I am sure that most of us will probably relate to having a Michael Jackson-influenced piece of clothing in their wardrobe. If you didn’t have the moccasins, then surely you wore piped black trousers with white socks. And which daring fashionista did not have the single white glove to crown the look?
It has also been the month for other firsts… some great; others not so great.
Take for instance Swine Flu. I am of the opinion that this is a not-so-great occurrence which we could have easily avoided.
When one of my journalists wrote about poor screening measures at the airport, we did not take heed. Instead we worried about ‘inconveniencing’ our tourists.
Perhaps, it would have given our visitors a greater peace of mind if we had screened them after being cooped up in a plane for hours.
What saddens me more is that it seems we resigned ourselves to the presence of the virus in Kenya as inevitable. There was an odd air of countdown to the day the first case would be discovered.
I know we like to sing the disaster preparedness song, but I would rather that we had focused on preventive measures than curative ones.
But on a lighter note, did you hear the joke about the Brits wanting Nottingham to be declared a swine flu hotspot? I wonder how that would fit in conversations.
Nonetheless, there have been other notable great happenings in Kenya. Take the budget reading for instance. I believe the majority of Kenyans would have given the Finance Minister an A+ for the way he executed it. He set the mood that pulled our country out of depressive news.
However, we are now anxiously waiting for the implementation of his proposals (read; please return the cars with an engine capacity of greater than 1800 cc). But, we are also keenly watching the disbursement and utilisation of Constituency Development Funds (CDF), thanks to zealous private sector organisations. Without them we wouldn’t know about the recurring discrepancies in CDF cash allocations and demand appropriate responses.
Another high for Kenya has been the performance of our rugby team. Those young men should be declared Ambassadors for Kenya and paid a handsome allowance. They have done a commendable job of selling our country as a nation that can rise above its tribulations, united in the absence of leadership and showing the world that we are a people to contend with. To our Shujaa team; I am very proud of you and the way you have held our name high.
I cannot end my blog without mentioning a pleasantly surprising move from the Cabinet; the approval of the National Land Policy. This is a decision whose time has come, perhaps too late, but very welcome nonetheless.
To me, this is the strongest indication that Kenya is striving towards equitable distribution of wealth and resources. I keep saying that it is shameful that so many months down the line, we still have people living in camps for the internally displaced.
It is my expectation, and i’m sure that of many people, that Parliament will enact this important piece of legislation.
I anticipate this policy to herald a return of sanity to land issues. Maybe, it is the silver lining in the landlessness cloud. I dare hope so.
There have been other great and not-so-great firsts for our readers and Kenya this month. The beauty about taking stock, is that it allows us to evaluate where we are; our circumstances, needs, wants etc; to determine what we value; and to make notable changes towards achieving what we desire. What is your stock?
When Michael Jackson passed on, I asked my Facebook friends not to mourn his death but to take the opportunity to reflect about how to make their stars shine beyond everybody’s expectations. This is the same thing I ask of you. That you will take stock of your life and make essential changes. You will be glad you did.