Thursday, November 27, 2008

Change, Missing the Mark.

Reflections from a Kenyan in Oz...

Not to provoke anyone, but I’m truly tired of hearing about what Barack Obama is going to do for us. We, Kenyans, are hoping that on the basis of his roots, Barack Obama will look favorably this way. But can his life lessons and integrity be associated with the place we call home?

We can only blame ourselves for the state we are in and need to look within for the solutions to our problems. To every person who does not vote, and everyone who votes not for the issues that affect their lives but on tribal lines, for everyone who is ready to sell their votes for a couple of bucks. We need to stand up as a people and by the power of the vote say NO to leaders who campaign on incitement and fear mongering.

Say NO to party hopping candidates who want leadership by any route available without regard for ideology or personal integrity. If such was the case with the United States, Hillary Clinton would have moved from the Democratic Party and start her own party or formed a coalition so that she too could stand another chance at the presidency. But she didn’t do that because at the end of the day she still has faith and belief that the principles her party stands for are right and she will continue to support the party. The party policies and manifesto are more important than the individual, but we don’t see that in our politics or even in our leaders; Kalonzo, Raila, Ruto and crew have all jumped ship over and over when their interests were not met. None of our politicians has ever been for the party or for the people. Just for themselves.

The tough situation with unemployment and poverty makes it hard for one to have pride in their country, where the poor keep getting poorer, where health care is unaffordable, where essential amenities like water, electricity, transport, education, employment and security are considered of little importance by the people we elect hoping that they would even for an instance pretend to care enough to try and tackle them. But alas, it doesn’t even hit them in the slightest that we down here are in need of the same facilities that we have allowed them to enjoy through our votes. Their most important order of business has always been to increase their own salaries at the expense of the people and doing nothing.

The articles I have been reading from my fellow Kenyans since Obama became president are those of careful jubilation, and we should be. But we celebrated Obama’s win with a public holiday, a country that he doesn’t even call home, while for the Americans themselves, it was back to business and life as normal. A waste of time and resources on a public holiday that we did not deserve.

Some would say that may be I speak much due to my current living condition, but I would like to say that home is where my heart is and it is in Kenya, and I would also like to address my brothers and sisters who are living abroad, I hope and pray that some day, we all, as I have planned, look forward to returning back to the homeland, the motherland. We bitch a lot about the situation In Kenya and how it is not changing and nothing good is happening there. Being in Australia, seeing and learning as I have about governments, state, federal and local, about politics and loyalties to parties and party principles and not to individuals, economics….and many more, we are the change and the breath of fresh air that the country needs if we all go back at one time or the other with the positive use of the networks that we have built all over as we are abroad. Kenya is destined to rise from the ashes of nothingness and shine to the possibilities that only our imaginations can limit. Kenyans would have the opportunity to shine at home as we Kenyans do out here, the self imposed exile and exodus that we take should be for opening up our minds to the possibilities that what we learn out here, we can export it back and give those same dreams and possibilities to other Kenyans at home. Then they too would not think of going abroad to look for possibilities of a better future because we will have brought the future home.

I am vexed honestly, to see a country that I love miss the mark like it has.

...By Vincent Tshaka, Sydney, Australia.