A friend of mine keeps telling me how deranged I am whenever I wax lyrical about Kenya’s preeminent position in East Africa. Being a perennial optimist on most matters Kenyan, I have somehow managed to convince myself that the current political troubles rocking the country are but transient – a necessary step on Kenya’s path to being the region’s top dog. But even I am beginning to get worried.
The recent fallout between Premier Odinga and President Kibaki is not a good sign. My worries have been further compounded by reports of the existence of militias being trained and armed by politicians. And forget about being the region’s top dog. Uganda seems to have successfully annexed Migingo Island. And without even having to fight for it. Just when did the rain begin to beat us so bad???
Things seem to be getting worse by the day. Corruption is off the charts. Nepotism and tribalism seem to be the norm in the public service. Kenyans continue to die of hunger like it is 20,000 BC (the Kenyan food jokes are not so funny anymore). The President and his Prime Minister are reading from different scripts. The country remains as divided as ever. And worst of all, the vast majority of Kenyans still live in a pre-industrial world where an obscene number of children die before they are five and those that survive have very little to hope for.
President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga are failing Kenya. They have it in their power to sack corrupt ministers. They have it in their power to impose civility on the civil service. They have it in their power to use the current crisis as a chance to craft social policies that will finally catapult Kenya into the 21st century. I am disappointed that instead of doing any of these things the two men have chosen to run the country like a village kiosk.