by Sheila Ahono Bosire
Looking at the present situation in Kenya as daily reflected in the media and in each of our lives, the scales lean pathetically to the negative. This applies to all areas: social, political and economic. Kenya, a country once pregnant with promise is now one of the poorest countries in the world and one with a high mortality rate on account of HIV/AIDS and careless living. Before us lies a challenge. When a storm approaches we are entitled to seek shelter since we did not cause it.
Having brought this on ourselves, having caused the storm, we are not entitled to seek shelter, we must construct the shelter. The condition we are in blurs my vision for Kenya in the 21st century. I am disturbed by the system, by the news, the lack of power within me. Yet, due to the magnitude of the storm I must work towards something positive. Only light can relieve darkness and only food can give nourishment. And therefore, yes; I still hold an optimistic vision for the Kenyan society in the 21st century.
Straight ahead, I envisage a Kenya that has finally been freed of ignorance, the cause of poverty and other evils present in our society. Education having been provided to all, I see enlightened attitudes in all members of society towards each other regardless of tribe, gender, race, religion or occupation. Tolerance and peaceful co-existence has been enhanced. Domestic violence (attributed by one women scholar to the continuing empowerment of women nowadays) many times stems from feelings of inferiority due to a lower level of education of one partner in a marriage. This can be curbed if the overall education level rises.
Statistics have shown that about 25,000 individuals control 92 percent of the economy while the remainder is shared among a population that approximates 30 million. The high crime rate, whereby business and banks are robbed in broad daylight, with escalating cases of violence is to a certain degree a direct result of corruption. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to enlarge.
On the economic front, liberalisation should be restricted as this is a developing country. Monopolies which fail to deliver quality products and services should be challenged by allowing local competition.
An overall educated population would be better informed concerning their rights and expectations from the government they have elected. Therefore, there would be less tolerance of ineffective governance. Processes like reviewing the constitution would be less cumbersome if all of us were adequately educated on our constitutional rights.
An environment-conscious society would enable us to better manage our environment and natural resources and thus improve health conditions and the general standard of living. The condition of prisons in Kenya should be improved and torture of prisoners eliminated. Any civilian or officer who does not adhere to human rights legislation should be prosecuted. Respect for human life should be taught in all communities in order to reduce reckless behaviour by individuals, such as matatu drivers, who respect neither their own lives nor those of their passengers.
Marginal groups lack provision in our society today. Such groups are now breaking the silence to state their grievances, for example, the disabled of Kenya, some Kenyan Somalis who have great difficulty being issued with an I.D. card, and children who, though not a minority, cannot fight for their own rights. For a lasting peace, minority groups should be treated with the same consideration as the majority. In the same vein, both the public and private institutions of learning should introduce study programs in minority and under-developed areas, for example, film and music production, performing arts, etc. The government should not shy away from yet unexplored areas but be bold and make provision for these fields of study within the country, creating more job opportunities.
All that has been realised amounts to nothing when it has only been done outwardly. It is claimed that Kenyans hate their country, that we are our own worst enemies. A few years ago, we were more mindful of each other's welfare. Locally manufactured goods bolstered our economy while we sang heartily about our country. At that time we had national pride.
This is no longer the case today. Almost all our sense of national pride has been washed away by greed and by adapting to western modes of behaviour that degrade the African way of life. Those of us who are educated have become greedy and exploit the poor and illiterate by grabbing their land and milking all they have in other ways; for instance, by exorbitant pricing, heavy taxation, etc. Our hearts need to change. We should go back to the philosophy of peace, love and unity. Among all the changes that need to be made, we ourselves are the first in need of change.
In order to be a part of the team projected in my vision for this county. I am seeking knowledge in my chosen field of study. I aspire to study journalism and later narrow down to film production as a specialisation. I am currently training with the Writers Bureau, a correspondence college in London, in creative writing and journalism. I plan to join university as soon as possible.
The Kenyan media has been accused of sensationalism and lack of patriotism. As a journalist, I look forward to focusing, not on the shame of country but on that which is hopeful and has potential.
I am a gifted in music (gospel) and through self-study and lessons I am learning how to play the guitar and the piano. I am hopeful for the future. I believe in doing the best, not only for myself, but for my country and for humankind as a whole. I work on my attitudes towards the situation of the country. I try to examine myself and I am open to change and development in order to keep abreast of technological and social advances.
I am committed to constructive growth in all aspects, I am committed to a better Kenya and most importantly, I pray for Kenya.
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