Let us take back control from Parliamentarians

I am sure you will all agree with me when I say that Kenyans have been waiting expectantly to see how our leaders will behave when they debate the proposed Constitution in Parliament. 

They have suggested so many amendments such that one wonders what consensus they have supposedly been building all along. 

As I write this, almost all proposals presented on the floor have flopped because they did not gather enough votes to comply with the 145  threshold rule.  The only amendment that came close to getting the desired support was proposed by Assistant Minister David Musila, although it also failed implying that our armed forces can participate in demonstrations.

In a way, I feel that we have ignored the basic facts and timelines about the Constitution review process, which prevent it from being held hostage to the drama in Parliament.  We have allowed ourselves to get drawn in to their arguments and as citizens, to change our views to reflect those of our Parliamentarians.

What is emerging is that our politicians continue to engage in divisive politics along tribal and party lines, to our detriment.  Sadly, this division is a reflection of how Kenyans would vote if the Constitution was subjected to a referendum today.  No doubt, it would be a repeat of the 2005 referendum, and we all know how Kenya headed downhill from there onwards.

But why blame our Parliamentarians when we have chosen to abdicate our thoughts and beliefs to them yet again?  Why blame them when we decide to let them take control of the process?  It is either that or we are becoming apathetic to our civic duties.  

Whichever the explanation, it appears that we are unwittingly exposing ourselves to more pain contrary to the saying, ‘once bitten twice shy’.

What I want to reinforce to Kenyans today is that it is never too late to take back control of our lives, our businesses and our country.  May the Almighty have mercy on us if we choose to ignore our past mistakes and not learn from them.

From a business point of view, we must begin to look at taking back control as a strategy that empowers us to run our country effectively.  Just because we do not have a perfect solution in mind, does not mean we can wish our challenges away. 

In fact, the cost of denial (read our unwillingness to take action), can be even more damaging to our sovereignty, our businesses, our economy and the country as a whole.  If the risk of inaction is that great, what then is holding us back from directing our lives /country in a manner that we desire?

Let us stop, take a breath and regain control of our lives.

Start by defining yourself; who you are, what you stand for, what you believe and what you value.    If you have not already decided that for yourself, then you will be easily swayed by arguments that have no merit. 

Equally important, be informed.  If for instance the issue that resonates with you in the draft constitution is that of abortion, then read widely about it.  Research the pros and cons of where we stand today, how other developed and developing countries have handled the issue, and settle on an informed position.  This information will empower you correctly as we head to the referendum, instead of the loud rhetoric voiced by interested parties. 

Most importantly, there is no room for apathy today.  You and I must do whatever it takes to guide this country forward.  Just because you feel your vote did not count in 2007, doesn’t mean that you don’t vote at all.  It only just means that we ensure that every vote counts next time around. 

Finally, I will share with you one of my life lessons. 

Some people struggle endlessly to stay afloat in business because they go into it the wrong way.  They think that they will win if they eliminate the competition and go to lengths to play more sophisticated dirty games.

I think that we need to learn to win the competition by offering a more superior product, service and brand.  Where do you fit?

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