Letter to the President on post August 4 Kenya

Dear Mr President,

As I write this letter, I am confident that the proposed Constitution will sail through during the referendum on August 4. 

Much has been said and done to persuade and dissuade Kenyans to vote for or against it. In the end, I trust that our vote will demonstrate our maturity and the fact that Kenyans want to propel this country forward. 

We desire to have a logical Constitution that not only reflects our values, but also has capacity to accommodate emerging global demands and trends essential for survival in a global village.

But first I must take this opportunity to thank you. 

You have taken on this cause with the heart of a servant, making it clear that what drives you is not your legacy (as alleged by many), but your belief in the overall good of a new Constitution for Kenyans.  We have been pleasantly surprised by your wit and energy, and invigorated by your infectious passion. 

Congratulations on a job well done.

As I contemplate this Constitution, I am reminded of an African proverb that says, “Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”  And I dream of a new Kenya; a Kenya which runs more seamlessly than it does today.

However Mr President, your subjects and citizens must be reminded that this Constitution is not an end unto itself.  It does not contain a magic portion that will suddenly right all the wrongs and automatically resolve all our problems.  It is a document that requires great sensitivity and representation in its implementation so that it does not negate the same values it professes to promote. 

As such, I raise some concerns that need your attention to ensure that Kenya thrives long after the August 4 milestone.

Mr President, you know us well; we are an ambitious people driven by the same goals.  We want a better life for our families, our parents, our communities.  Across the country, we are afflicted generally by the same challenges which we would want to resolve.  We want to feel safe in our homes; enjoy the fruits of our labour; reduce poverty amongst our neighbours and develop our communities. 

At the core, we desire to be united as a people bound together by our rich history and heritage.  We want to be known as a prosperous Kenya, the envy of all our neighbours.

How will you guide us to achieve these dreams Mr President?

It pains us to know that approximately 30 years ago, our economy was in the same league as that of our Asian counterparts.  Now they are called Tigers, while we retain the ‘developing’ label, barely able to feed our own.

We want leaders who are driven more by the calling to serve the public than by their own private gains.  It is only in such selflessness, that we can ensure better management of our economy instead of the usual plunder that we witness day in day out.

We want to see deliberate and sustained efforts to curb corruption and impunity.  To be absolved of this feeling that we are being taken for a ride.  We want to make notable progress in the Transparency International Corruption Index and be known less for being a nation of ‘kitu kidogo’ and more for our generous culture.

We want to see the threat of Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda strongly repressed in our country; we have suffered enough collateral damage.

We want to see the wheel of justice oiled and grinding effectively during our lifetime.   That truly we may believe justice to be true and fair and have our faith restored in the judicial system.

It is good to note that in spite of all these challenges, our young people are more determined than ever to be educated and excel in their own fields. 

We are happy that this Constitution has purposely taken measures to ensure that our young people not only access education, training and employment but are also able to participate in the social, economic and political spheres of life. 

Mr President, how much more efficient this dream would be if it was immediately translated into action.  How much more worthwhile it would make us feel, knowing that we educated our children for a purpose, and not for them to resort to crime and drugs because they have run out of options.  How much more progressive we would be as a country, if we provided them with opportunities to add value not only to Kenya, but to their own lives.

I know that I speak on behalf of Kenyans when I say these things. I hope that when you read this letter you will see me as ‘Wanjiku’, devoid of my gender, tribal, religious and social status affiliations. And in so doing, will hear our cries and vow to do something about it.
Mr President, long after the Constitution has passed, we hope you will give us reason to dream of a new Kenya and perhaps our Vision 2030 will not look so unattainable.  May God bless the work of your hands. May God bless our beautiful Kenya.

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