It is flawlessly said that experience is the best teacher; nevertheless, we ought to ask some questions.
Can we if truth be told buy the same saying as individuals or a nation?
Can we claim that our experiences over the years have taught us any good lessons that we can draw from in our current political and social state of affairs?
I beg to state with all certitude that a majority of us can genuinely affirm that we have learnt many valuable lessons as a people. On the other hand, we can also say that despite the fact that there have been lessons learnt from our past experiences; going by the current happenings, it seems as if the lessons learnt are yet to be put in practice or else we have not learnt anything at all from our history as a country.
Perhaps, you wonder why I say the above; well, there are certainly varied meanings of the word ‘learning’. Even so, a learner is basically a student of which, we all are.
According to Knowles, Holton and Swanson, “learning involves a change; It is concerned with the acquisition of habits, knowledge and attitudes. It enables the individual to make both personal and social adjustments. Since the concept of change is inherent in the concept of learning, any change in the behaviour implies that learning is taking place or has taken place.”
Therefore, if indeed learning involves a change; it is imperative that I have stated that going by the current happenings in our country; it seems as if the lessons learnt from our past experiences are yet to be practiced or else we have not learnt a thing.
Unambiguously, when our leaders don’t exhibit any change of attitude towards governance: when they are unaccountable and unethical; it is unmistakable that they prefer the old school where a majority of them were schooled.
When we support leaders who have destroyed and plundered our country over the years – when we follow others even when we know very well that they are leading us to destruction or back to where we fought so hard to come out – clearly, it means that we as a people have not learnt from our past.
Undoubtedly, wherever valuable lessons have been learnt, change is inevitable – where there is change in behaviour/conduct/action/performance/activities, implies that learning is or has taken place.
Speaker Kenneth Marende echoed the same sentiments in his concluding plea to us and to the leadership of our country during his ruling in parliament a few days ago.
In his plea, Marende said, “Honourable members, painful as the memories may be, I think that it bears reminding that three years ago, almost to the day, this country was at war with itself in circumstances not so dissimilar.
We were on the brink of the precipice because of a dispute relating to an election was not referred to the judiciary because of a lack of faith in the judiciary. ………..
Honourable members, few countries have had the opportunity of a second chance as we have. Events around the world in recent days are testimony to how situations that may have been easily avoided or acted upon while there was opportunity can rapidly deteriorate and become unmanageable.
To my mind, it will be a pity and a severe indictment of our collective leadership if in time to come, history shall record of our country in general and of our leadership in particular that we learnt nothing from history.”
Without a doubt, Kenyans at home and a majority in the Diaspora followed keenly at the speakers ruling in parliament on the 3rd Feb. 2011. Notwithstanding, I bet that a majority were focused so much on the political rivalry between the PNU and the ODM factions.
Consequently, Marende’s plea to the entire nation and its leadership may have not been fully grasped.
However, we must appreciate the boldness exhibited by the speaker in parliament in reminding us all that we must learn from our past and act responsibly.
Unquestionably, the call to learn from our history and act responsibly as a consequent solely rests with all of us. In fact, our leadership however bad or evil it may be; we the electorate are chiefly to blame. The motive with which we elect leaders is important and plays a very critical role in the kind of leaders we end up with.
Thus, it is of uttermost importance that we learn from our past and determine to act responsibly now and in the future by electing leaders who will serve our course rather than their own as we are largely witnessing today.
Notably, Marende said, “it will be a pity and a severe indictment of our collective leadership if in time to come, history shall record of our country in general and of our leadership in particular that we learnt nothing from history.”
By Martin Opany