Delegated power delivers, it doesn’t just promise
Dennis Brutus, one of my favourite poets and anti-apartheid icon has this iconic poem titled “There was once a girl.”
It is a short poem, but it powerfully captures police brutality in apartheid South Africa.
It is a story of a young smartly dressed girl who dies in a protest she knew nothing about.
The powerful images of a beautiful young girl replaced by the bloodied body of the girl, captures the brutality of the then police state.
In Brutus’ South Africa, the need to assemble and protest against an oppressive regime was understandable and the right thing to do and it is sad that people lost their lives.
The centrality of purpose-driven protest was characterised by many protesting South Africans who demonstrated undefeatable spirit by singing “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” even when locked up prison for protesting.
Back then “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”, was a protest song and stoic determination of the gallant natives who took it upon themselves to protest were rewarded when Nelson Mandela made it a national anthem.
Back to Kenya: the loss of lives in political movements that have no bearing in addressing the fundamental plight of masses should not just be condemned, but stopped by all means possible.
In 2016, I wrote an article urging the youth to wake up and not only smell the coffee, but drink it.
Seems like four years down the lane, the youths are still in slumber land.
Whether young or not, where there is violence the word ‘youth’ will be thrown in. The need to change that is urgent.
I have no issue with political rallies or gatherings in church or funerals.
The crux for me and many right thinking Kenyans is: for what cause are Kenyans risking their lives, fighting battles at the behest of politicians, who wallow in opulence and masquerade as poor?
Listening to some politicians, one wonders why Kenyans should risk their lives at this time of Covid-19.
All they do is remind us how their rivals are good for nothing. No one is talking about the plight of Moraa, Wanjiku, Akinyi, Wakesho and Ndanu!
How crowds in different parts of this country rally around empty rhetoric is beyond me.
When Jubilee won in 2017, it laid down a fairly elaborate agenda to address the plight of the common mwananchi.
That agenda is not in tokenism or the charm offensive we witness in these rallies.
That agenda is what our leaders should address themselves to. For instance, they should have conversations on how the opening up of agricultural rich areas from Nakuru to Mau Summit would boost agriculture and change lives.
Such conversations should focus on pathways for investments that would harness infrastructure and create jobs for locals.
You see, when we are talking about loans and grants meant to boost water and sanitation infrastructure in Lake Victoria region, provide Covid-19 recovery funds for SMEs and improve our public health response system, agile leadership is expected to tie in on such opportunities and give people the pathway to opportunities, growth and hope.
When will we wake up to reality that politics of emotions and handouts with cameras in tow should be a thing of the past?
That it is needless to unleash violence on fellow Kenyans because of political leaders?
No life should be lost because of the political ambitions of individuals, especially if all they do is make promises of what they would do once they get to the house on the hill.
When power is given in a democracy, the basis upon which it is extended or withdrawn in subsequent elections depends on how it has been used, not it promises.
— The writer is a PhD candidate in political communication