Kenyan politics goes green

I don’t care if it was half the government or the full government that went to the Mau to plant trees last Friday, I just know it was a massive task that needed the input of every Kenyan that had the time, to secure the future of tomorrow’s generation.

It was a huge event watered down by Kenya’s biggest enemy, politics, but if we keep our heads fixed on straight, it doesn’t have to lose its worth. The work has just begun. The restoration of the Mau; can we please keep this politics free?

We left Nairobi just before 7am and it took us three hours to get to the Mau. The sun was up but the chill in the wind was biting when we arrived. There were already hundreds of people there, they came in buses, vans, mini-buses, private cars, but they were there.

And as a crowd of dignitaries and fans waited for Prime Minister Raila Odinga to show up, another group of locals and university students went about planting as many trees as they could.

As we picked up our seedlings, very far away from Raila, Minister Henry Kosgey was right beside us, picking a few of his own. There were no cameras following him, just Dalmas Otieno, who also came looking for trees to plant.

As time went on, they were joined by other MPs including a very noisy Bonny Khalwale, who used a brand new shovel to dig several holes for us to plant seedlings in. At this time, Raila and his crowd were far on the other side. It was still crowded but I hoped he and his fans planted a few trees.

Wangari Maathai was on the other side, showing people how to remove the plastic wraps from the seedlings without tearing them, so that they could be re-used. I was impressed, touched, and harboured hope that though the other half of the government might be playing green politics, there were others who didn’t belong in any half that were working hard.

There are still hundreds of thousand of hectares in the Mau that are waiting to have trees planted on them. After the pieces of land are cleared that is… I would like to implore the government – or half of it – to go on with the good work they are doing there.

Up until last Friday, my experience in planting trees had never been on so vast a piece of land. Experience still beckons to the fact that politics, if it goes green, will only hurt this country further. Kenya is bigger than you and me. Let’s plant trees, do what we think is right, and as I have said before, do all these good things while ignoring the politics of it.

Instead of compensating large land owners, let’s resettle IDPs, rebuild homes destroyed by floods, send some money to Haiti, pay for free primary education and use the leftovers to build proper non-porous borders?

Have a good day.


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