by Tabassum Yusuf Dawre
Deeper and deeper she drowns into the dark abyss of illiteracy, corruption and poverty, edging closer and closer to death. Born in 1963, she was christened Kenya, much to the pride and joy of all who fought hard for her freedom, each having a dream of their own, a vision for the future of Kenya. Today, as she approaches her 40th anniversary, she asks for the revival of those visions, in the hope that one such vision might just save her from impending doom.
Detach yourself from the real world and step, if you will, into the world of my dreams, into the splendour of my vision for Kenya. Imagine yourself in a country where all the biotic and abiotic components live in harmony, where fear and insecurity are strangers you will never meet. A country where happiness and joy always dwell in the heart, where justice rules in favour of truth. A place, where race, colour and religion hold no barriers to our ability to love one another. A country where elders are given their due benefits and respect for their well-earned golden days of retirement. A society ,where violence and hatred are curbed, where education, food, clothing, shelter and, most importantly, love, are the basic and essential needs of a child. A place where our womenfolk are protected from hurt and harm, where our leaders themselves are paragons of society. A Kenya where corruption and poverty are almost non-existent. A Kenya where miracles are the order of the day!
When reality strikes it shatters you to the deepest reaches of the soul for the desolation in which Kenya is engulfed is truly disheartening. We are at the verge of an economic crisis with the shilling constantly depreciating. Agriculture, which is our main foreign exchange earner, is at an all-time low, while farmers dispute with governmental institutions about better rates for their crops. Tourists and citizens alike have appreciated the versatility that Kenya has to offer from the wild animals to the beautiful coastline and submarine life, from the icy peaks of Mt. Kenya to the hot and arid semi-deserts, from the crystal sparkling lakes to the magnificent Rift Valley. However, due to the degradation of infrastructure and the state of insecurity, these beautiful and wondrous features of Kenya stand isolated and neglected.
There is a rhyme my niece sings. It goes like this: "Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief …." It is ironic that the verse so aptly describes the four major classes of society in Kenya. You are either rich or poor with minimal representatives in the middle. More than fifty percent of the population live below the poverty line. This has led to evil consequences like the sky-rocketing crime rate and the low standard of living. In turn, this is a leading cause of prostitution, drug peddling and anything else which can enable a destitute person make ends meet.
The recent Transparency International Corruption report showed astounding results. It is a shame for Kenya to be listed among the ten most corrupt countries. We also put up with a disgraceful show on human rights, children living on the streets, violence and abuse of women and the deplorable state in which our elders are living. And with the accelerating rate at which AIDS is spreading, many children are left orphans who must fend for themselves.
Things are bad, almost hopeless. Almost, but not quite. There still is a small flicker of hope. There are still people who believe in Kenya's hidden strengths, those who think it worth fighting for her salvation. We must all sit and think. We must think hard about where we are at present and where we might end up, if present behaviour persists. We should understand that in a way, however small, we are all responsible for Kenya's progress or decline. We should realise that together we can move mountains, if we so desire.
Arise, dear fellow citizens, for Kenya is as much yours as she is mine. Let us stop lamenting if something goes amiss, but stand up and demand that justice be done to us! Education and medical facilities should be available to the general public at subsidized rates. It should be the duty of all individuals who can read to familiarise themselves with their rights. Security should be beefed up and laws made in consideration of all people; they should not only cater for only a few influential individuals of society. Ministers should be answerable for their activities, and only if they show substantial progress in their respective ministries, should they be re-elected. Leaders should be nominated and chosen on the criteria that they have a genuine concern and love for Kenya and her people.
No one says it is easy but it can be done; it may take some time but it is not impossible. If we all do a little, we end up doing a lot. It starts with a vision; the next step is to realise the vision, to build a strong foundation, cemented by peace, love and, most essentially, unity. The way for Kenya is ahead, let us all take that step forward¾together!
In order to see beyond the horizon, one must have the power to visualize. This vision is enhanced by rays of hope and courage or blinded by the darkness of ignorance and greed. Let us spread the light of truth and unity to this great country so engulfed in darkness.
Let us dream and make our dreams come true!
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