For a better Kenya, register to vote

The political temperatures are about to hit the boiling point. The political players have been working overtime to fan the flames. As with the Kenyan politics, we are heading to that season when name calling will reign supreme.

Kenyans who have lived harmoniously with each other as neighbors, partners and friends will be swiftly reminded where they belong and where they come from. Their last names will bear a heavier relevance of how they are perceived than their skills and who they are. In the words of a famous politician, our last names will betray us.

Ethnic passions will be stirred. Ethnic loyalty will be stoked. Because the political class depends on getting us worked up so that they can reap their fruits.

Yet none of us chose our birth places. We certainly didn’t choose the community we belong to but we have to carry the heavy cross of perception and judgment throughout our lives.

In my leadership capacities as an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, I have learnt the correlation between leadership and success. I appreciate the value of casting a bigger vision for the people you lead. However, much as you shout the direction you want your followers to go to, they will always look up to you.

From an early age, I learnt to stretch the limits. I knew that if I didn’t set a goal that looked too insurmountable, I would have been stagnant. I’ve on numerous occasions broke the glass ceiling because I dared to dream big. I’ve attempted and succeeded in what seemed impossible in the eyes of men.

Not because I’m an alien. It’s certainly not that I’m secretly endowed with supernatural abilities. We are all inherently gifted with unique talents and abilities that if we harness can indeed change our lives.

Politics of Ideology

We recently watched the opposition leaders gather together to pronounce their unity under the umbrella body of an amorphous group called NASA (National Super Alliance). As Kenyans, we will be waiting to see the agenda of the alliance unveiled and what it promises the next generation.

A while back, we also saw the Jubilee party being launched with pomp and color at Kasarani. We are waiting for their manifesto so that Kenyans can scrutinize it.

The two groups represent the largest political movements in Kenya. It is therefore important for Kenyans to put them on the spotlight.

As the chairman of Brand Kenya, I get furious when I see our politics degenerate into a contest of who can shout louder. I get exhausted by the sheer amount of name calling and abuses that are hurled frequently in the political arena. We have turned Kenyan politics from ideologies to a contest of egos wrapped in personalities.

Over fifty years after independence, it is unfortunate, and unacceptable that majority of our politics is divided into ethnic lines. It is embarrassing to watch our politicians turn a worthy contest into one that is simply centered on people.

If Israel, a country slightly smaller than Kajiado county in size, situated in a desert and established in 1948 can export and innovate; what is stopping Kenya from attaining a first world status? Israel has more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups. Thus making it the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world (apart from the Silicon Valley).

When his Excellency Mwai Kibaki took over power in 2002, our economy was growing at 0.6 per cent. Just before his first term ended, Kenya’s economic growth had shot up to 7.1 percent.

Free primary education had been introduced, the number of public universities had increased and our nation was on the verge of explosive growth.

Then we slipped back into the abyss of ethnic hatred. Our nation descended into the darkest period in its existence.

As we head into an election period, let us hold on steadfast to what we know. The image of a good leader and what he can do for his people must stick in our mind.

We need ideology based politics.

How are we going to make Kenya the greatest economy in Africa if we don’t improve the quality of our politics? How will our politicians enact policies that will eradicate poverty and ensure that Kenyans can live decent lives if they fight more about election laws than development laws?

How can we change our country when the political class can arbitrarily increase their perks without being opposed?

As the retired President Moi  once said, “Siasa mbaya, maisha mbaya.”

There is a direct correlation between our country’s progress level and the brand of politics we practice.

Jubilee’s scorecard

The jubilee Government has tried by all standards. In the backdrop of the challenges they faced when they came to power and the new constitutional dispensation with a whole new framework of governance, it’s almost a miracle looking at what they have achieved.

The last mile connectivity is lighting rural homes. People who live in rural areas can now watch TV and be informed. Hospitals have been equipped to combat diseases like diabetes. Under the Jubilee government, credible KCSE & KCPE results have been achieved. The standard Gauge railway is two years ahead of time. Roads have been built. Digital literacy program rolled out among other achievements.

Yet so much needs to be done. The doctors’ crisis must be resolved sooner than later. The effects of the drought that is threatening lives must be urgently dealt with.

So much is also at stake as we are heading to the next elections. Just one wrong decision and we can take back our country down the rabbit hole.

As Napoleon Bonaparte mentioned, a leader is a dealer in hope. He never spreads fear or hopelessness. He believes in his country more than he believes in his personal ambition. A good leader will see the promised land and lead his followers to it.

A good leader thinks about the next generation, not the next election.

We want politics of ideas. Politics that will ensure that our magnificent parks and pristine beaches are filled with tourists. We want politics that will ensure that our resorts and hotels are full to capacity all year round.

We want nothing short of a brand of politics that will transform the face of Kenya into a beacon of hope in the ‘dark continent.’

Kenyans deserve to be ushered into a first world country status within the shortest time possible. The leaders we elect will determine whether we arrive or don’t.

For that to happen, Kenyans must register

God bless Kenya!

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