Change is coming to Kenya, slowly

The train station at Voi is a very quiet place to be. The air is clear and the station itself is in a nice little neat line with an archway that leads outside into the town. 

It is a stone structure with bricks painted quaintly on the wall and has about four or five offices. Some of them have no occupants and the torn wire mesh on one such office led me to suspect it was built during the colonial days.

There are two boxes nailed to the wall. An old dark-wood suggestion box and a newer, shiny, light wood anti-corruption opinion box. This cemented my suspicion.

That was about 10 days ago, but last week something happened that took me back to that train station, a law that allows the police to arrest you should you have nothing in your pocket.

If you’re caught at whatever time without even a dime in your pocket you can be apprehended for being a ‘vagabond’. I can bet you a lot that by the time that law was written not many people knew what the word meant.

I was distraught. Merely because these notions suggest we as Kenyans – who are mirrored by our leaders – have little creativity if any. Our ‘new’ ideas or inventions outside of M-Pesa and the giant we call Sacco’s are simply plucked from other countries, tweaked and given a new name and an equal lack of passion during the implementation process.

Sigh. I know. Cry my beloved country? There is no hope and so Kenyans should resign to their fate and move to other countries should they seek a better life… I can’t tell you what to do but I can assure you change is coming.

Change is coming. And no, it has little to do with obbie – aka Obama. Remember how scared Kenyans used to be of policemen? Did you imagine at one point that you would ever talk back to an officer and state your rights? Remember how scared people were to talk about the ills in government and ended up keeping it all in, ignoring the impunity as a Kenyan thing.

Remember when you couldn’t get a passport or an Identification Card without buying some chai? I can and I can see the changes. I can see the university students forced to wreak havoc for a little more than an errant teacher or better food. Change is coming.

It is agonisingly slow. I have no idea why. But perhaps we could try a little creativity to get things moving?

Yours sincerely…


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