Third Eye

Politicians owe us an intact country brand beyond ‘22

Sunday, September 19th, 2021 20:39 |
A woman walks past a building with a Tokyo 2020 Olympics banner in Tokyo, Japan. Photo/PD/FILE

Wausi Walya       

It is less than a year to the General Election and already everyone feels the rising political temperatures.

Politicians are busy planning campaigns and scheming political coalitions.

The media is switching heavily to headlines that favour political activities. And the country — from the urban to the rural — has been bitten by the political bug. 

Unfortunately, this five-year cycle this time round finds us amid a pandemic that has led to loss of lives, disruption to normal life and a dented economy besides a severe strain on the infrastructure of the medical institutions.

On a more positive side, it also finds us counting many of our blessings as a nation. Kenya continues to attract global eyeballs arising from a lot of positive events that have kept our country brand equity on the rise.

Our athletes just made us proud at the Japan Olympics and at the World Athletics U20 championships by topping the medal chart.

We are leading the EAC secretariat, our anchor products like flowers, tea and coffee continue to be our gifts to the world, Lufthansa just started two-weekly flights into the Mombasa airport while new charters from Romania and Ukraine prove we remain an investment destination of choice, the Expressway is soon going to change our infrastructure story, the Mara migration ongoing, and we are starting to reap the fruit of an economy that is slowly coming getting on its feet.

These positive narratives should remind our leaders that as they campaign for political seats, we expect  manifestos that build on what is working for us.

The lucky candidate to get our nod to occupy the house on the hill will desire to steer a country that is on the rise. 

Therefore, leaders need to assure us at the end of it all, we will still have a country we are proud of, a brotherhood that does not divide us based on tribe or class and continuity in national development programmes.

How do we ensure Kenya remains intact beyond elections? What role do we have at the individual level to ensure our country brand is a heritage that the next generations can pride themselves in?

Does it matter whether we are deliberate on our personal contribution as citizens?  

Kenya is known for its strong democratic space and the freedom that we enjoy as citizens is admirable.

We may not appreciate fully how many people would trade places with us to take the share we have as bona fide citizens of our blessed country but our country is a gem and besides its breath-taking beauty, endowment with wildlife, adventure experiences and a great all round weather,  Kenya has enjoyed peace over the years. 

Every five years, as part of the citizen constitutional obligations, Kenyans get an opportunity to make a choice about the political leadership.

The patriotism demonstrated by the long queues of Kenyans keen to exercise the democratic right through voting must not be abused, instead, it should be rewarded with a transition that is smooth enough to ensure elections are a one-day affair. 

This is a plea to politicians to assure us that we can get back to business in the shortest time possible after elections and that the journey to the ballot will not stain our national and international image.

This is our motherland and we would like to have it intact beyond elections. 

We must all safeguard the gains from our long struggle to a democratic and peaceful country. It is on this solid country brand we will continue to rise and take our place in the region and in the global stage. 

We would like some assurance that after elections we shall be able to go back to our daily chores almost immediately,  proceed to trade with our partners, that tourists will continue to flow considering that it will be the  high season and that our country brand, that we will just have showcased at the commonwealth games a month before elections, will continue to rise, giving us all renewed hope for a better Kenya. — The write is a PhD student at USIU and a communications specialist

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