BY EUGENE WAMALWA
My Fellow Kenyans;
A Great American President Franklin D Roosevelt once said “there is a mysterious cycle in human events and to some generations, much is given. Of other generations, much is expected.
Our nation Kenya has faced great challenges. The generation of our founding fathers had the challenge of breaking the colonial York during the struggle for the first liberation. The second generation faced the challenge of overcoming authoritarian rule and expanding the democratic space during the struggle for the second liberation.
It now falls on a new generation a new challenge; to recreate the national spirit and as the visionary pan-africanist Franz Fanon said ‘every generation must rise from total obscurity and discover its mission; and either fulfill it or betray it’.
We are here today to sound the trumpet and awaken the sleeping giant that is the Youth of Kenya which comprises 80% of our population to arise from their state of hopelessness and obscurity in the management of our national affairs and discover its mission which is to slay the dragon of corruption and tribalism that stand in the way of the Kenyan dream.
The generation of our founding fathers set a firm foundation for this great nation. They fulfilled their mission and we thank them for it; and the mission of our fore fathers is still the calling of our time.
At Independence we as a Nation stood shoulder to shoulder with great world economies such as South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia and our people had a Hunger, Pride and Resolve to move our Nation forward.
The founding fathers set out on a journey to realize the Kenyan dream of a Kenya free from poverty, disease and ignorance. Sadly forty seven years later, we still have not conquered these three enemies.
I believe what stands in the way of the Kenyan dream are evils of corruption, impunity and tribalism.
We come to this sacred Kamukunji grounds with a deep sense of History and Purpose to call on the new generation to step forward and reclaim the Kenyan dream.
We come to plant the seed for the third liberation which shall be the liberation of the individual from the Yoke of poverty, impunity, corruption and tribalism.
Let me say here today that Kenya has over 9.1 million young people 75% of whom are unemployed. Needless to say, unemployment and idleness; a failure by the status quo is the biggest setback to the progress of the young people and thus the progress of the nation today.
Other issues facing young people include HIV/AIDs, alcoholism, drug abuse, prostitution and lack of space to exploit their potential. The Kenya Vision 2030 plan to get out of this will not work magically. We as a nation must improve the quality of lives of all Kenyans by strengthening key institutions of governance from the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive. We must promote demoratic, transparent and accountable values at all levels of society.
The most pivotal is to ensure equitable distribution of resources regardless of age, gender, social class or tribe. The youth of this country must take pride and reingineer the course of history. Cognisant of the fact that Equity and Poverty Eradication as laid out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) are the most critical issues and must be tackled as a priority for our country to achieve any measure of progress.
I wish to call upon all Kenyans to celebrate a renewed hope for the Nation. A hope that marks the end of one era and the beginning of another.
This renewal of hope is based ON AN AGENDA FOR CHANGE both in the style and substance of leadership of the Country.
The cornerstone of our Change Agenda rests on THE THREE KEY PILLARS OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION.
The Economic pillar is anchored on the drive for Jobs, growth, Security, infrastructure and Regional Captainship.
The Social Pillar is anchored on a sustainable, efficient, accessible and affordable universal educational and health care system; whose ideals include creating a society where there is equity, solidarity and justice for all.
The Political Pillar is the basis on which we shall realize the Change agenda. The People of Kenya have overwhelmingly written a People’s constitution and this next elections are the first under it. The new Government shall guide, navigate and implement far reaching changes in democratic governance and in the creation of an accountable transparent government.
Key among the changes for the future shall be that in appointment to public office of meritocracy, performance and integrity shall be the criteria for appointment; not what tribe or religion, where you come from and whom you know.
Where devolution of resources will allow regions and counties to prioritize development bybringing government closer to the people.
Where the bill of rights will enshrine, safeguard and protect the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association, life and the right to hold views for every citizen.
The government shall be lean and clean and shall have the benefit of fresh blood and new ideas for a new economy and a new world.
My fellow Kenyans, as we celebrate the hope and promise of a better Kenya, we have a choice to make as a Nation.
In less than 18 months we shall be asked to make a momentous choice; one that will not be defined by tribe, party or religion but shall be between the past and the future.
But this peaceful revolution of hope will not come about easily or uncontested. The choices we face are about whether we continue with the politics of recycling of the same old players, with business as usual kind of politics, or we can inject fresh blood into the political veins of our Nation which shall embrace the politics of change.
We offer a leadership which is untainted by corruption and free of vengeance brewed in the pot of past impunity and negative ethnicity.
Forty seven years since Independence Kenya’s social, political and economic circumstances are very different but our people still undergo untold suffering from illness, ignorance, lack of shelter and continue to live in a permanent state of Hopelessness.
We can and must forge a just war against these enemies of mankind by forming a grand alliance, from the North and South, East and West, that can assure a more dignified life for all Kenyans!
I have nothing but the greatest respect and confidence in the collective wisdom of the people of Kenya to make the right choice and create a future with a new kind of politics that will be people centered, pro youth, pro women pro poor and that will embrace unity in our diversity. For as J. F Kennedy said, “The future of any nation is directly proportional to the leaders’ investment in the Youth and the Women of that Nation”
We are conscious that our generation has drank from wells we did not dig and been warmed by fires we did not light. We salute and honor those before us for digging the wells from which we drink today as a free and a sovereign nation and for lighting the fires of freedom and democracy by which we are warmed today.
But with the old Lancaster Constitutional order giving way to new Constitutional dispensation, we believe Kenya today stands on the banks of River Jordan and the Moses Generation must give way to the Joshua Generation.
We seek not greatness for ourselves or any titles or any entitlement because of our age, but we seek to uplift this generation from joblessness, poverty and hopelessness into greatness, by taking their rightful place in the decision making process of our nation instead of being mere passengers or bystanders. As the great Nelson Mandela said, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation.” This is your moment, you can be that generation.
I know that in the face of politics that shut you out, that has for decades told you “you are not old enough, you are not responsible enough, you are not experienced enough, you are not wealthy enough to lead and you are leaders of tomorrow”, you may still think that what I tell you today is impossible, but George Banard Shaw once said, “Some people see things happen and ask “how come?” But I dream of things that never were and ask “why not?””
So when some of my friends on facebook and twitter like Dr. Mureithi, Odhiambo and Adams Koech express the same doubts, we ask them today why not?
We have seen generational change in other fields like Athletics, soccer, business, private sector and civil society;
We have seen the generation of Olympic champions of the 1960s and 70s like Ben Jipcho and Kipchoge Keino gave a way to the generation of Moses Tanui and Paul Tergat. Tegla Lorupe and Catherine Ndereba gave way to the generation of Rudisha, Eldoret Express and Jelimo. In soccer we have seen the generation of Joe Kadenge give way to J.J. Masiga who in turn gave way to the current generation of Mariga and Oliech.
In politics, the road is treacherous, narrow and rocky.
Here the climb will be steep and slippery, and the fight will be uneven.
But, as the scriptures say: “Be wary that even the youth will faint and the young men will utterly fall. But those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount on wings like eagles, they shall walk and not be weary, they shall run and not fall.”
Today from these historic grounds the journey has began and national dialogue has began about the future of this nation. For the avoidance of doubt, let it be known that this is not a war between the young and the old for as Winston Churchill said, “If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we risk losing the future” …It is a choice between our bitter and corrupt past and a future of fresh, clean untainted leadership that will end corruption and set the feet of this nation on a path of national healing and reconciliation.
It is a journey that will take us to every county, every town and every village for the next 12 months until we return to the capital of our nation in January 2012.
May the good Lord renew our strength that we may walk the length and breadth of this country and not be weary, that we may climb the hills and valleys of this country and not fall.
Thank you and God bless.
(This speech was given recently by presidential aspirant Eugene Wamalwa, Saboti MP)