Does Kenya Need a Building Bridges Initiative or Value Building Initiative?

Published on 26th February 2020

What would you do if you discovered that your house had a big leak and water was dripping onto the essentials in your living room? Would you go to bed and say to yourself, “I will work on it tomorrow?” Would you call your family for a meeting to discuss the need to replace the roof and how to raise the needed resources? Would you kneel in deep prayer, repenting your sins and petition God for a new house? Would you pick up the phone and call the contractor who did your house to give a much-needed scolding for doing a shoddy job? 

Kenya is leaking, but instead of fixing the leak, we are busy doing and discussing everything else except the leak. If you find this imagery far-fetched, forgive me, but that is how I view the current clamour for us to build bridges across a social river that has burst its banks! The real problem that we have as a nation is not lack of bridges, lack of initiative, lack of policies, lack of a constitution, lack of laws, lack of the willingness to work together, lack of patriotism, lack of leaders, lack of faith, lack of will, lack of resources, lack of a good nation, but LACK OF VALUES. 

The leak of Kenya is in our morals. We are immoral and amoral at the same time. We are wicked. We are greedy. We are selfish. We are callous. We are impatient in working for honest gain. We are CORRUPT. We all know that. We are thieves in government and thieves in the private sector. We even know the thieves by name and face. We are liars. We are swindlers. We are murderers. We are crafty in bypassing, breaking and sidelining the law. We know what is right but do the exact opposite. We are unfeeling to the extent that we can take the children’s bread or milk and feel nothing about their malnutrition or deaths. We employ fellow Kenyans and pay them peanuts so that we can roast the steak for ourselves every day. We feel nothing about owning 1000 acres of land that we never utilize as a family squatters the rest of their lives. We have enough to eat for a lifetime but still feel we need more. 

We shoot tenants because they delayed to pay us kshs2500 on time. We are a tearless society that feels little for 15 young lives that perish for no good reason at a Kakamega school. We take shortcuts in constructing lousy buildings and walk away as if nothing happened and deny responsibility when people die from collapsed buildings. We cite scandal after scandal as mere news items on radio and television.

We know that every flooding time, people in Budalangi and Nyando or Tana-River will suffer from floods, but sit in office and earn salaries as experts without doing a thing. We seduce school and college girls out of wedlock, teach them to dose themselves with alcohol or drugs and, should we fear they might expose our mischiefs and evil ways, we murder them mercilessly and life goes on.

We can kill a DJ who is working hard to earn a living because we can own a gun, buy our way out of this, and wake up another day, and go for political or social meetings, like nothing happened. We can steal votes in an election and impose ourselves on people, spend billions for ourselves and tell the whole world that we are spending them for the good of the country. We can kill babies like Pendo or young adults like Musando, kill children before they are born daily as quarks or professional medical doctors and use such blood money from innocent girls to buy a meal, a car, a house, or pay school fees for our children!

We have a callous media that receives money from exploitative preachers, fighting politicians, destructive advertising, filthy talk shows, vulgar music, etc. … And we call it life. We call it entertainment. We call it business. We call it fun. We call it progress. We call it civilization. We call it the Kenya we want. We call it development. We call them agenda. … Whatever.     

Need I go on? … Our nation is leaking. The water is flooding us all out of this great country, but instead of fixing the leak, we are busy spending money and time and our voices on BBI. What we urgently need is not the sharing of seats or the distribution of wealth, or the balance of power. What we need is to fix the moral leak. Let us criminalize immorality and fight it with all our might. Let us glorify values again. Let us have a national dialogue on value-building and value restoration. Let us salvage the few remaining things. Let us accept that our bad values are a national disaster.

Let us set up policies and structures that promote values and criminalize valuelessness. Let us ask thieves to return stolen monies and properties in return for armnesty. Let us repent and turn back to God. Let us call for accountability to the last dot. Let us fine those who promote violence and abusive tribal rhetoric. Let us earn from them. Let us remove from office people we know to be criminals and let us not transfer them and their immorality to other sectors of government or public service. Let us call evil by its name and reject nice-sounding euphemisms. Let us preach values and righteous living in our places of worship. Let us remind each other of the brevity of life and of awaiting judgment. 

Let us shout and sing the VALUE-BUILDING INITIATIVE.

By Reuben Kigame

Reuben Kigame is a singer, writer, producer, radio presenter, and Christian Apologetic.

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