Mr Uhuru Kenyatta wore a swanky pink tie and blue suit as he posed while holding that ceremonial budget briefcase, with the word ‘Harambee’ written on it.
The eyes of many Kenyans were glued to their TV sets all expecting the usual. In fact very few must have wondered why he was driven to Parliament in a VW Passat. Everybody was waiting with bated breath for the minister, being a Member of Parliament, to hand down the next con job. More taxes!
That was not the case thankfully. The very moment he mentioned that taxes would be untouched, some of the pent up tension eased and confusion set in. How is he going to pull off that massive collection of funds, since we know that Sh800 billion never grew in anyone’s backyard?
Though it is still unknown how this will happen, we can let him worry about that and focus on a more important thing that will help him along.
I would like to put my two cents in and remind Kenyans – and this includes leaders – of one of the oldest words in Kenyan democracy; Harambee.
According to Wikipedia, Harambee means ‘all pull together’. Baba Jomo Kenyatta is said to have heard the Asian railway workers some decades ago use the word effectively to build the rails with a unique sense of unity – unity of purpose, unity in drive and effort. It is said he snapped on this word to symbolise what he envisioned for Kenya; a nation working together, communicating and sharing its load.
I believe that his son Uhuru – true to his name – has set the motion rolling with the new budget. He has spread out the risk and fortune of developing this country across the Kenyan population and the onus is now with our leaders to embrace the spirit of Harambee.
I’m sure we can agree that Ministers Naomi Shaban, George Saitoti, and Mutula Kilonzo had completely forgotten this word. Because why are the IDPs not back in proper homes? I wonder how long they would last in those terrible white tents, sleeping only feet away from their children… Do they even remember that most of these IDPs had gates and padlocks, concrete walls, wall units, and family photos?
I think the word must also be completely alien to most MPs who see this word all over the official documents they subscribe to every single day but continue to misuse the CDF funds. I think a task force should be set up, with Uhuru’s blessing of course, to teach them what Harambee means and how they can use it even between their ministries to build this country that is theirs.
Harambee! Leaders, let’s please work together and build this country. You work very well in ensuring we pay our taxes. I’m sure if you paid these taxes too you would also want to see the money being used to build this beloved country of ours. All together now, Harambee…