Here is the essay
PAIN BLEEDS PROGRESS
Kenyans are a colorful breed of people. Coming from worlds apart, they bear different characters and express themselves differently. They see things diversely and share their thoughts in different platforms. Ideas, plans and strategies are laid out to accomplish their goals. What fascinates me most is the energy, the vigor, the liveliness, that spark in people’s eyes as they work towards their purpose. Right from the crowns on our heads to the soles of our feet is greatness untold, greatness unseen and limitless potential. We can accomplish anything; peace or war, harmony or malice, liberty or captivity among other things. Kenya is one. Now I do not wish for peace in this country, I demand for it, for us and for generations to come. ‘The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world it leaves to its children.’
To understand the magnitude of a united Kenya, let’s revisit some events that occurred many years back. In the 1950s Mau Mau Movement, a military African nationalist group, opposed the British colonial rule. Its members came together as one to try and make a change, to bring social, political and agrarian reforms. In 1957, the British allowed the first direct elections of native leaders to the Legislative Council and in 1960, Africans made up majority of the Council. In 1963, Kenya gained independence. This is a clear indication of great things that happen when Kenyans come together as one, when all join without discrimination, without intimidation, without fear nor favor of one party to another.
There are various reasons that bring people together as one. Diversity of cultures, which could also bring disunity, is one reason. Kenyans are able to share their culture in different platforms as they showcase their talent. This may be in music and drama festivals, reality shows and also in concerts among others. This helps us understand each other better thus building good interpersonal skills with each other. As the saying goes, ‘Education is power’. I totally agree because I have seen education changing people’s lives. In many ways it also brings about unity. People from different places with diverse characters meet, become friends and live in peace. This harmonization brought about by education makes it very difficult for one person to turn against the other due to their differences.
With unity comes about many benefits. Some include peace in a country, living without fear or doubt of other people, growth of an economy, transparency and accountability by leaders, creation of job opportunities, agricultural prosperity and the list continues. Take for example the year 2007, the economy grew by more than 7% and its foreign debt reduced. This however changed drastically after chaos erupted due to disputed presidential election results. When Kenyans decided to go up against each other the economy went down. Interestingly, after the restoration of peace in the country, Kenya posted tremendous growth in many sectors for example telecommunication, agriculture, food security and transport. This proved that Kenyans are the ones to determine the growth and development of a better Kenya. When we are one people, Kenya grows.
One of the greatest curses bestowed onto Kenya is tribalism. Former President Moi termed it as a cancer. On the contrary, having a sense of pride and loyalty to one’s tribe is no crime. In fact, it is the root and fabric of the African Society. It is where we derive a sense of pride in being Kenyan. Many would agree that they feel more Kikuyu than they are Kenyan or more Kamba than they are Kenyan and so on. This sense of belonging can be used for us if a positive energy is derived from it. It however goes out of hand when fights, both physical and verbal, arise. Different ethnic groups go about terrorizing each other in the name of political, social or cultural differences. This gets even worse when there is loss of lives and damage to property. Such actions are inhuman and should not go on anywhere in the world. Each Kenyan has a responsibility to ensure peace in the country. The pain and emptiness left behind by violence is profound and does not deserve to be experienced by anyone.
Tribalism not only causes chaos but begets social stereotype. This is where one is given an identity that is not his or hers based on which tribe one comes from. Tribalism also brings about hijacking of democratic processes. Leaders will go out of doing what is right just to get to the top. Kill, maim, bribe, and corrupt legal systems among other nasty tactics. This is unfair, unprofessional and simply wrong. The government- its legal, security and political systems- owe Kenya accountability for their actions and transparency in all their operations. This ensures peace and a sense of security for Kenyans. All Kenyans must come together as one and say no to corruption and illegal doings in Kenya.
Here’s a challenge to all Kenyan citizens. We should help those who need us most. When disaster strikes our country, let it not pull us back but rather be a stepping stone to greater things. We should be ready to give aid, financially, by donating blood, by encouraging each other, and indeed we will rise to greater heights. Let the struggles our fathers went through, the troubles we go through take us to another level, unbowed by the pain, the tears and sweat. Kenya is greater than any of its inhabitants. Together let’s make a better place for future generations because it is the ultimate test of a person’s conscience. May God bless Kenya.