In 1947, the then US Secretary of State, George Marshall, designed one of the best reconstruction strategies on Western Europe famously referred to as the Marshall Plan. In the next five years, a devastated Europe, destroyed during the WWII was able to come back to life- through aid assistance.
How was this possible in just five years? You ask. Apart from Western European countries being among the first world, most of their institutions were still intact. Yes, physical infrastructure could have been destroyed, the economy could have taken a nose dive, but their Political, Social, Cultural institutions were still intact. The business goodwill and the general public will to reconstruct were still evident. Even if not physically, these institutions were well engraved in the minds and hearts of the people.
This story is more or less a replica of Japan’s post Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is more or less a replica of the so called Asian Dragons/ Tigers story. But when it comes to Africa, the story is a bit complicated. More than 50 years of her independence, Africa is still dependent on foreign aid. When you ask an African leader when (s)he thinks Africa will be able to stand on her own, majority of these leaders might not have a genuine answer to this. Why? because they might be very much clueless or not interested at all.
The focus here is not on foreign aid -that’s a debate for another day, rather, on these institutions that we keep talking about in our Politics.
Thus, let me bring it home. In Kenya today, we are being treated to a Political circus. From corruption, to unemployment/ underemployment, to nepotism, to negative ethnicity, to education crisis, healthcare crisis et cetera. And intrinsic to this circus are well thought out LIES that are being peddled around as ‘TRUTHS’. Some of them being;
- THAT Devolution is the problem.
- THAT The Constitution ( 2010) is the problem
- THAT His/ Her hands are tied.
- THAT It is the people around him/ her.
- THAT It is the Cartels.
- THAT It is foreign interference.
- THAT Let’s choose the lesser evil.
Although, to a great extent we all agree that Kenya’s wage bill is at a high due to the public offices constitutionally created post 2010 (which can be rectified ), there is no chapter in the same Constitution that advocates for runaway corruption. The issue here is that in 2010, Kenyans created a legal framework for Political democracy but are yet to create a Political culture that respects the same framework.
It is this Political culture that thus becomes an institution- in the minds and hearts. An institution that goes ahead to protect chapter six of our Constitution. An institution that enables us subscribe to Kenya’s National Values in accordance to article 10 of the same Constitution.
It is this Political Culture that will enable us build other significant institutions including, Political Parties. If we, as a people will truly subscribe to our National Values, then Kenya will not need tribal parties or alliances. The people will be conscious enough to know their true needs thus forming Political parties that revolve around these needs -Just like the United Kingdom where societies are equally heterogeneous.
So, the moment an elected leader is clueless about the conduct of a state officer, and the majority of the citizens are equally clueless, statements such as ‘the problem is the constitution‘ becomes a ‘truth’. The moment the citizenry elect a leader even if their integrity is questionable, when this leader starts singing ‘devolution is the problem’, it becomes a ‘truth’. Whenever jobless University graduates start tweeting and posting on how ‘cartels’ have tied the hands of the leaders, it is believed.
On the issue of University graduates, it is saddening to realize that the economy today is not creating much opportunities for them. Thus they have been trapped in this ‘bootlicking’ web where they have to sing political praises for their masters in exchange for ‘m-pesa’- but i digress.
And so these Political lies that the Politicians and business elites are serving the people don’t hold any water. If they have failed to deliver, they have failed- PERIOD.
The ‘let’s choose a lesser evil’ lies that the Kenyan citizens are serving themselves are pure balderdash. They need to wake up from their deep slumber.
The youth of this Country have the potential of moving this Country forward, they equally have the potential of completely destroying all the gains.
Change has to start somewhere- and it is my submission that Kenya’s change must start in the minds and hearts of the Kenyan people. Just like the Western Europe example, or the Asian tigers example, let’s put in order this institution called Political culture.
Long Live Kenya.
“The essence of the beautiful is unity in Variety”- W. Somerset Maugham