byTom Maina Kabau
A nation arising from decades of economic and moral corruption and political sycophancy, a nation free of corruption, unemployment and poverty, an economic giant suddenly awakening to take the lead in the continent. A nation that has shunned all evils of tribalism and which has forged, from North to South, from East to West, a strong sense of nationalism against the common enemies of a national alliance.
This is my vision of our country in the 21st century, the dream that will give Kenyans strength to face the next millennium with confidence. My vision is a nation whose constitution is strictly the measure by which its citizens are governed. Those charged with the noble responsibilities of running its affairs are reputable people who clearly understand that the rights of human beings come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God, and that peace is not simply the absence of war.
I foresee a country with strong economic policies which help us to develop our natural and human resources. I see a land where every citizen has access to the basic needs, food, shelter and clothing, as well as tapped water and electricity, a country crisscrossed by a well established transport and communications network. Roads in the rich agricultural areas are tarmacked. There is not the least evidence of regional discrimination: the stakeholders in this important sector have access to markets at little delay and without any damage to their products, and this at a fair cost. I see a country that has fully exploited its rich agricultural potential and has become a leading agricultural exporter in Africa. Its parastatals and cooperatives are well established and have a special concern for the grassroots: they can efficiently advance loans to farmers, provide markets, carry out research and offer advisory services. Local manufacturers are given support and the jua kali sector is well established; the high potential tourism sector is fully exploited. The numerous sources of energy, that is solar, wind, water and gas are fully exploited, together with the available mineral resources. All this is done while taking care not to damage the environment.
I envisage a land of opportunities, where the graduates of the higher institutions, the intellectuals and scientists do not end up joining the masses of the unemployed, but offer their much needed services. Quality education is not a privilege of the few but is accessible to all.
We cannot ignore the fact that this nation is in its worst state since its foundation. Violence and corruption are the order of the day, while the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Let the message be clear to those who hold the mantle of power, that nothing lasts forever, and that a time has come when the citizens of this nation have grown tired. This country must experience a new birth, culminating in a new people-driven constitution. Parliament cannot take the full mandate to amend it, because it is comprised of individuals who do not see beyond the corridors of power and their personal interests, and in as much as they may represent the people, they can never be the people themselves. A new constitution will set limits to exploitation, create more freedom of expression and give the common man a larger say in policy making. This will serve to re-ignite our dedication towards our noble goals as a nation. It will help us to elect in 2002 a true representative of the people to the highest office in the land, without the slightest element of political interference.
The 21st century offers the best hope for our country, especially after the much awaited elections just after the turn of the century, which may well represent the turning point in Kenya's social, economic and political problems. A new administration will take over. Let us hope they will be men and women who have witnessed the tragedy of corruption and tribalism at the national level, and have been disciplined by these economic and social problems. At the head of this administration will be a person who will embark on a thorough talent hunt and who will bring to the government men and women with strikingly successful backgrounds. He or she will be a charismatic and visionary leader who will take extra-ordinary competence to the office, re-ignite the spirit of harambee and African socialism and will put Kenya on the move once more.
The Parliament, our best hope for the just rule of people, will be elected representatives who will formulate serious and precise proposals, and who will put the government on its toes. They will be personalities who will see beyond their accumulated wealth and will help to break the bonds of mass misery. All will do their part to keep cities and towns clean, and land grabbers will be prosecuted.
Since this nation was founded, a few of its citizens have answered the call of public service with immeasurable integrity and dedication. The charismatic images of Tom Mboya and J. M. Kariuki remain to this day etched deep in our minds as true inspirations.
The trumpet summons us again for a call to service, a call to help this nation rise up to its true creed. We must act as individuals, because the destiny of the cause is in our hands more than in those of our leaders. In his thanksgiving speech to Massachusetts, the slain United States President John Kennedy eloquently put it "And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgement on each of us, recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities, our success will be measured by the answers to four questions.
First, were we truly men of courage?
Second, were we truly men of judgement?
Third, were we truly men of integrity?
Finally, were we truly men of dedication?"
The next century is indeed my century. It is the century when I will complete my studies and enter public service, the century which will offer me a chance to characterize, in public service, the four principles that Kennedy taught.
When I enroll for an undergraduate course next year, I hope to study law. This will equip me with the necessary tools for political leadership and service to our nation. but I feel that my major responsibility now is to lead my fellow promising youth out of self-destructive activities, such as drugs and promiscuous sexual indulgences, because we the youth offer the best hope for our country. I am assisting those that I can and participate in educational programs that help my fellow youth to spend their time positively. I also make sure that those around me, old and young, understand the need for comprehensive reforms.
So to all the citizens who share my noble belief that this nation is worth saving let us back up this belief with enthusiasm and courage. This dream shall never die, for however much time is required, it will one day come true. Let us begin anew with the making of a true nation. To those who still doubt, I ask, where was Nigeria three years ago?
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