In these joyous days as we anxiously await the promulgation of our new Constitution on Friday the 27th of August 2010 on or about quarter past eleven in the morning, I am reminded of a piece penned by iCon some time back entitled: “The Kenya We Deserve”
If I had to respond to the question of “What do we as Kenyans need?” in one sentence I would say: “True leadership and vision are sorely needed in Kenya.” But I have never been known to be a man of few words so allow me to get atop this here Soapbox and ventilate a little.
Even after the acceptance of the proposed new constitution by the majority of voters, the fight for the protection and promotion of the rule of law and human rights is far from over. The tragedy with this nation of ours was never the lack of a Constitution but, rather, the lack of a grand national vision by our elected members of parliament and government
These leaders, in their endless game of political musical chairs, have been, and still are, engaged in a never-ending and reckless struggle for power, using the “Constitution” as a façade of their power struggles.
This must stop!
Time and time again, they have duped Kenyans by exploiting raw ethnic emotions to achieve their selfish aims. This has been extremely damaging to the country.
Surely, even with the most progressive Constitution in the world, it would be left to our leader to “protect and defend” it and to apply it to the letter for the good of all Kenyans.
But why did Kenyans and their leaders in particular fail to “protect and defend” the Constitution we inherited at independence in the first instance? What guarantee do we have that this new Constitution will be honoured and respected?
Let us look at the whole lot of our top leaders and let us, honestly, ask ourselves which of them has a grand vision to make this country a truly great nation, a country in which all Kenyans, irrespective of their ethnic or other backgrounds, would feel truly proud of themselves.
In my view, no national leader has yet fully emerged to instil a sense of national identity, pride and patriotism. We need leaders who will inspire passion and national pride in all nooks and crannies of this country, and who will, by action and example, break down completely the shackles of tribalism, greed and selfishness. History teaches us that great leaders have great visions for their countries like Mzee Julius Nyerere in Post-Colonial Tanzania, Mr Nelson Mandela during the fight against apartheid, and like the Rev Martin Luther King Jr had in the fight against racism and for human rights.
Therefore the single greatest challenge for our leaders in the months and years to come will be to rally the nation together, to craft a national vision, to chart out the nation’s development path and future direction using the new Constitution as its blueprint.
It is commonly said that vision without action is illusion while action without vision is confusion. We shall need to have a fair balance of vision and action in our national life. It is high time our leaders learn to express their great vision for Kenya by drawing inspiration from the values, spirit and purport of the new Constitution. We clamour for leaders who will traverse the valleys, plains and peaks of this great country, sharing their vision with Kenyans of all walks of life on how to make this country a truly great nation. We need leaders who will instill faith and confidence in all Kenyans, teach them to live together as brothers and sisters and to work hand -in- hand if we wish to eradicate poverty and all the other vices facing the nation. This kind of leader will, work tirelessly in bringing all Kenyans together to strengthen national cohesion and galvanise all our national resources and talents in promoting the dignity of each Kenyan.
We need visionary leaders in whom all Kenyans from all corners of the Republic will gladly, proudly and confidently entrust their destiny as we prepare for the dawn of a new constitutional era.
This is, indeed, our greatest challenge as Kenyans today. The lack of true leadership and vision is what ails Kenya.