First and foremost, a heartfelt prayer for the victims of explosion on Moi Avenue.
OK, now on to the blog.
About a week plus ago Uhuru Kenyatta launched his TNA Party in what can only be described as the biggest launch of anything ever in Kenya. Seriously. He must’ve had the same budget as the Avengers movie. It was epic and quite impossible to miss.
The meat of the message he spewed out was some very inspirational, flowery and borderline purple balderdash on the importance of believing and having faith, hope and dreams. If I may, I’d like to quote him quoting someone.
“It was once said and I quote “ To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” end quote. Here today we have seen a dream being unfolded, we have seen the wings of hope that can carry us into the future and beyond. This is not some grand elaborate design, no, on the contrary it is very simple and basic, it all about our dreams. We all dream, children more so, but we must now start believing in the dream in order to achieve great things.”
“Ours is a party whose engine is oiled with the dreams of every Kenyan. A party that focuses into the future by offering solutions for the problems of today and emerging challenges of tomorrow. We seek to dispel the notion that parties are founded with the vision of getting to power. The Alliance is driven by a deep desire to fully implement the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya and the spirit of achieving the national development milestones as laid down in the Vision2030 agenda. That ladies and gentlemen is what we are asking you to judge us on as we move forward.”
– Uhuru Kenyatta, in his speech “TNA: The Alliance of Believers”
The speech is linked up there and it’s really not a horrible read. I tip my hat to the copywriter behind it and the endless hours of YouTubing inspirational speeches that must’ve been put behind that. Really I do. But let me tell you what I don’t believe before I tell you what I do.
I don’t believe that any man who has not lived a life as an average Kenyan can feign appreciation for our plight. I don’t believe that one man can change an entire government of corrupt people unless his first executive order is to dismiss them all from their current positions. I don’t believe that any person who can chalk up a Kshs. 9 billion deficit in the budget to “computer and typographical errors” honestly cares for proper management of the country’s finances. Especially when there were more deficits to follow. I don’t believe that anyone who puts more money and words on the table than actions and deeds is really offering change and not selling a dream. I don’t believe that anyone ever accidentally got accused of genocide. Furthermore, I categorically refuse believe that any person who has been in politics for 15 years will have a change of heart given more power.
And the big one, I don’t believe in our current selection of political leaders because I don’t believe that the change that needs to happen is within the rungs of power.
I do believe that the people can make a change. I believe we know where the shoe pinches and know the pain of not even having shoes, so we know what needs to be done. I believe it is our job and our responsibility to make that happen. I believe that the buck does not stop with casting the vote, nor does it start there. I believe we need more than a dream. I believe we all need to make running this country our second job. I believe in the power of the 40 million civilians, not the 200 or so government officials seated in their 200,000/- chairs delaying change.
And much as people don’t think so, I believe in the power of our voice and our vote. Because like I have said a great many times, people will always get the leader they deserve. If we are divided and apprehensive, it reflects in our leadership. If we are greedy and tribalistic, it’ll transcend to our leadership. If we are responsible and proactive…well, then maybe that TNA speech and the forthcoming speeches from other aspirants will have some context.
So I believe what we need is not to “believe in a dream”; we’ve been doing that for 50 years; I think we need to start taking baby steps, graduate to larger strides and leap forward. Any leader who claims to believe that should be able to admit that the government is oversized, overpaid, under-qualified and mismanaged. Especially when what you spent on launching your party could put streetlights in every slum in the city and cut down the murder rate.
Seriously, when you’re worth more than 80% of the population put together, and you’re one person, you need to do more than make a speech to get me to believe in you. I’m more convinced by the people I see mobilizing on a daily basis, working hard, giving despite their poverty, and not only taking time to believe but putting in time to achieve our dreams.
And unless I’m grossly mistaken, it’s politicians that keep holding us back instead of pushing us forward. Give us a push and I’ll believe. Lead in action and I’ll believe your words.
Give people power and stop seeking it for yourself and I’ll believe.
Update: Jemedari – Letter to The President