Only Reformed Institutions can Shape Kenya

Published on 7th April 2008

Poor Kenya! The country has put its hope on politicians. When they disagree out of their selfishness, they incite people to retreat to ethnic cocoons to maim and kill with impunity. While politicians seem to disagree and fight in the press during the day, they sheath their swords, wine and dine in the evening as they discuss their business investments.

Four months ago, Kenya’s top protagonists were like oil and water – they could not mix. Fortunately, they agreed to be a force for good. The internally displaced persons look upon them for resettlement, the common man looks upon them both to create opportunities and provide security for all - the poor and the rich. Those who lost their loved ones for no good reason other than exercising their democratic right to vote a candidate of their choice demand justice.

Where there is a will, much can be accomplished. I pray that the principals could recall (former US ) president  Eisenhower’s  words: “I have only one yardstick by which I test every major problem - and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?

Kenya can now dare dream. Unfortunately, our undoing as a nation is to put our hope and aspiration in politicians. We should never again allow politicians to shape our future, we should as a people put more faith on reforming institutions. Politicians will not reform in our lifetime, unless institutions reform them. The grand coalition should work without fail on the necessary reforms on land, constitution, ethnicity and perceptions of inequality. They should make sure the corrupt on both side of political divide do not come closer to holding political positions, lest they jeopardize reforms. A lean and clean government will stand the test of time. Can the two principals rise to the occasion?

Although we may not possess oil, diamonds, copper and gold in abundance, we have a hardworking and well endowed human capital. This is what the two principals should crack their minds on how it’s going to be harnessed. Failure to do this will bequeath poverty to this country by their bloated expensive government, and history will judge them harshly too.

The post election violence made us realise how dependent we are on each other. My fear though is on our short memory as a people. While this could be a solution for artificial reconciliation, peace and normalcy, we should not run away from long term solutions. Treating symptoms, will just postpone the problem. The two principals and Kenyans at large owe us a long-term solution to lack of political tolerance, insecurity, the land question, politics of hate, tribalism, resource allocation and inequality and justice among others. We cannot afford to sweep weighty issues under the carpet.  Kenyans do not want to hinge their country’s future on fate and luck, but rather effective institutions.

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