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Back to the Roots of Independent Kenya

Category : Politics | Sub Category : | Posted on: 2019-11-13 17:04:07

Back to the Roots of Independent Kenya

The struggle for freedom in Kenya was a long and rocky process. Kenyans of all walks of lives had to go through hell and back. Independence was ultimately achieved after a vehement struggle and the fight against colonialism. 

Gallant Kenyans stood up and rose to the occasion to emancipate other Kenyans from the manacles of oppression under the dictatorial colonial regime. The achievement of Kenya’s independence was celebrated with much gusto, despite the fact that the so much yearned freedom would be short-lived. Native citizens were able to freely travel in their country, were able to use their lands devoid of any external interference and were able to freely elect their leaders.

Universal suffrage was first exercised in 1957, when Kenyans were given power to elect their representatives in the Legislative Council by the colonial government. The same practice was to be replicated years ahead. Elections in Kenya are always bitterly contested. 

Nyayo’s dictatorial regime

Democracy was tampered with during Moi’s regime. In 1988, the second President of Kenya Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi introduced the ‘Mulolongo’ system to replace the secret ballot system. The ‘mulolongo’ system was intentionally introduced by Moi to prevent dissenting voices from being elected. The Machiavellian plan hatched by the Head of State precluded the likes of Masinde Muliro and Oginga Odinga from being elected. The 1988 election was rampantly rigged and people were surprised to see most unpopular figures getting elected.                     

Have you ever thought the far this country has come from? Have you ever felt the greater desire for patriotism and thrilled by the passion of being in Kenya? Kenya has produced and nurtured great leaders. Independence heroes and heroines inspired vibrancy, resiliency and independent-mindedness.  Independency of mind, thought and mobility is what triggers someone to rise to greater heights. The backbone of a country is its economic vibrancy and resilience. Nyayo’s epithet of peace, love and unity should have served as the main barometer for national cohesion. A united nation encourages both local and foreign investment which helps boost the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The scourge of tribalism creates fissures among people. People tend to align themselves with their own tribesmate. Job interviews get skewed from merit to the surname of the interviewee.

The sense of patriotism is slowly losing ground as most people endeavor to drift back to their tribal cocoons. The Kenya that was anticipated by its founding fathers is exactly the opposite of the current one. The country has largely been converted to ‘it’s-our-time-to-eat’ society, whenever people get to power. Immediately after ascending to office, they scheme on how to drastically change their lifestyles to appear unique.  

The genesis of Autocracy

Kenya will take long to produce true leaders who will be worth to pursue the cause of the led, other than prioritizing their own self-centered interests. The history of any nation is the biography of its great men.  History is composed of great people who rise to the occasion, to be seen among others, to bravely fight and protect the interests of other people.  Kenya is not short of those great men and women. Jomo Kenyatta, Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro, James Gichuru, Pio Gama Pinto, Paul Ngei, Achieng’ Oneko, Martin Shikuku, Daniel Arap Moi among other great Kenyans gallantly fought for Kenya’s independence.  During the clamor for independence the ghoul of tribalism and corruption was at bay. The three main problems that affected Kenyans were packaged in Kenyatta’s blueprint when he took over the reins of power from the colonial government. The only enemies of the people that had to be battled with were poverty, illiteracy and diseases. Successive regimes still had to continue fighting the same problems that bedeviled the country at independence. 

Political assassinations, land grabbing and imprisonment of people with divergent views characterized the Kenyatta led government. The government started silencing people with divergent opinion in a move that was widely criticized by many people. Monolithic regime perpetuated a sense of acrimony between the government and the people. There was a wide disconnect between the leaders and the led. Independent-minded leaders were barred from holding offices. The gap between the rich and the poor was wider than ever before. The same trend was to persist in years to come. 

Tom Mboya, a budding politician from Nyanza was shot dead at Nairobi in July 1969, when he had gone to purchase drugs from a chemist. His killer, Nahashon Njenga, was later acquitted on the grounds of being insane. He was later deported to Ethiopia and just disappeared from media surveillance. The death of Mboya changed the trajectory of Kenyatta’s succession. Jomo’s health was deteriorating and Mboya was seen as the possible successor.  Mboya was a key player from Nyanza in regulating Odinga’s immense influence. He was a great ally to Kenyatta and his untimely death remained a mystery. 

Huge tracts of land were a portion of the political aristocracy. JM Kariuki stood firm to defend the weak in the society. He protested against having a country with ten millionaires and a million paupers. The powers that be eliminated JM Kariuki for his stand of fighting for a just Kenya. 

Kenya’s forefathers were the same chameleon who camouflaged as freedom fighters, only to suffocate Kenyans from enjoying the freedom they had fought for in its fullest.

(Excerpts from Kenyans Must Know,  written by Dennis Webala Kerre) 

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