Our Canaan is going to take you and me

By Anthony Kagiri

Immediately the NARC administration took over power in Kenya, the country was voted among the most optimistic nations of the world. We all hoped for a happy life thereafter. Six years down the line we could as well qualify as the most pessimistic society. The country has been on a very desperate mood lately and the citizenry seem to have given up hope. News bulletins today are hallmarks of people accusing others of either doing the wrong things or failing to do what they should be doing.

This country of ours is at a crossroad. From the politicians to the men of the cloth; rights activists and the media… we all have lost it. Religious leaders and activists are pointing fingers at politicians who in turn accuse them of inciting and dividing the country. The citizenry is on the other up in arms against the leaders and the activists who they view as pursuing selfish personal interests. In the words of the church leaders politicians are ‘far removed from the interests and needs of Kenyans.’

However the citizens are not as clean as they would want to pose. Bribing for services has become the norm. When a policeman today stops a matatu the first thing the driver does is drop a few notes for ‘his freedom.’ Integrity and honesty at work has been thrown out of the window. The culture of kickbacks in both the private and public sectors has taken centre stage. It has now turned to ‘you scratch my back I scratch yours.’

What we saw after the 2007 general election was a culmination of not only failed institutions but also the disintegration of society. As much as I would want to appreciate the various legislative efforts of the government in the last year I feel there is so much that awaits the attention of all of us.

For the better part of the independent Kenya we have looked up to our politicians to chart the destiny of this country. We have continually blamed them together with the police and other civil servants for the ills that are plaguing us today.  We should not leave politicians to lead us to ‘Canaan’ because as we have learnt they just can’t.

The push for multiparty democracy in the 90s is probably an example of coordinated efforts by Kenyans to push for the change we needed. The coming together of activists, religious leaders and opposition MPs yielded fruit. However we seem to have forgotten the power of unity and everyone is now pulling towards themselves. Right activists and the civil movement of the 90s are no longer there. It’s time for a revolution in the civil society.

I open up debate for a couple of days that seeks views of Kenyans on how we can make this country a better place. I propose we move away from the blame game, take up responsibility and make a difference in our own small way.

I am confident it is possible to have a corrupt free government, efficient civil service, a secure country, a police force that  respects the people – if we all purposed to contribute to it. It’s got to be you and me.  Let’s join hands and make this country a better place.

I suggest the next time someone asks you for a bribe let them understand that its wrong.  We all have a responsibility to make this country a better place.

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