Monday, January 24, 2022

Most Kenyans will Sit Back, Relax as Country Chokes on Corruption

It's time to be angry

I used to be very involved and concerned with matters politics. We would have discussions with friends, classmates and many other people on Kenya and Africa in general.

In High School, we wondered about the future of Africa, the problem of leadership. We talked about a better Kenya, with a better education system. A developed Kenya. We had lit meetings. We were the loudest. It was optimism. It was passion.

Then came university. And the drive for a better Kenya was still in me. Technological developments, I thought, would be the solution to most of our country’s issues. That if we had better platforms to talk and discuss, we would find ways with which we’d be able to make our country great.

Twitter and Facebook seemed to be good platforms for Kenyans to talk openly, and to critique leadership.

I also believed that my generation would be a good one: a generation full of hope, hard work and togetherness.

Well. It is 2016 and I’m almost done with university and there’s almost no hope in me for Kenya.

My generation is full of uneducated university graduates. The government has an endless supply of ‘young’ thieves. A scandal every day. Twitter is full of university students being paid to make topics trend. Social networks are trash cans full of tribalism. Censorship bills are flying everywhere. Instagram is clogged with wannabes. The country is full of How-to-be-rich-quick guides. And we are drowning in debt.

Someone said Kenyans need to be angry. Really angry.

But Kenyans can never be angry enough. Kenyans are comfortable people. People who’re used to liwe liwalo. People who don’t feel anything when they hear of corruption scandals. Because they’d steal too if given a chance.

We hear of activists and we think they’re being paid by external governments. We hear of socialites and we praise them for working hard.

A couple of weeks ago, my school, the School of Information Sciences, was supposed to take us, 4th years, for an academic trip. The people in charge of organising and getting the funds for the trip didn’t bother. They kept postponing the trip. Everyone had had enough and we decided to demonstrate. Having paid for the trip since 1st year, and having a right to demonstrate as per the institution’s constitution, we expected 180 students to show up that morning for the demonstration. Less than 40 did.

When the trip was confirmed and everything was ready, 180 students showed up, ready to collect their trip allowances.

This is the Kenya we are in right now. We leave a handful of people to fight for what’s rightfully ours. For them to be charged in court. To be arrested. To feel unsafe as they champion for our rights.

We don’t realise the power that we have when we decide to do something together, speaking as one voice.

It’s time to wake up.


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Dickson Otieno
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