Who will Save Kenyans from Kenyans?

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A year or ago, Russian President, Vladmir Putin in his annual televised question-and-answer session in Moscow was asked the following by a 6 year old girl:

“Do Putin think if you were drowning president Obama would save you?”

Putin paused for a second, thought out the answer and answered:

“I don’t want to be drowning. I don’t think I have a close personal relationship with Obama. I think Obama is a courageous and good person. For sure he would save me.”

My grandfather would tell me that what made him feel something from his loins at the thought of Kenya, was the generosity shown by Kenyans-the ability to share resources even at the time of need. When he sought an education, no one in his village thought he was serious because back then education was not important. It took outsiders-strangers in fact, the people in Ukambani for him to get started on education. When he went searching for a Kikuyu in Lunga Lunga to tend to his small piece of land that he had bought with his little savings, he could not find any person from his tribe! The man who came through for him was a Luo, married to a Kalenjin and who both had converted to Islam.

I have seen posts on Facebook of a man under siege. A sick man. A man who is in pain. And all we are doing is a back and forth about which political party should take him to hospital! Really?

What have we become as society that everything has to be approached from the lens of politics? When a fellow Kenyan is in need of help, should we not look at it as a case of a Kenyan needing help from other Kenyans? Is that not what our God guided national anthem teaches us? This is not about the political party one belongs to. This is not a case of an ideology one holds dear. This should be about us, human beings humanizing other human beings. It is about us being true to what we say on paper-our Christian values and what they call us to do when we see fellow human beings in need.

The scripture reminds us about the parable of the Good Samaritan as captured in the gospel according to Saint Luke:

““A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him”

In his last sermon before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. interpreted the parable as follows:

It’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking, and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’

“But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Of course our narrative at the moment is “If I help this man, what will my followers on social media think of me? Will they think I have betrayed the political cause? It ends up becoming the case of “I.”

Maybe, just maybe, Kenya would still function if we cared for others even if they do not hold the same aspiration as we do. We would be concerned, not about the “I” but the “thou”

 

1 COMMENT

  1. History
    I think a knowledge of our history can help us a great deal.
    Kenya ended up in this situation due to the 1885 Scramble for Africa in Berlin where the continent was shared out among European powers. This was corruptly stealing land, its resources and people to replace the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
    Except for Ethiopia, all pre-colonial African nations were culturally cleansed, subjected to physical and psychological violence, herded together or had borders cutting through them and, when necessary, set against each other.
    To validate the twist of nations within nations, the pre-colonial states were reduced to tribes, kings to chiefs and councils to elders while their communalistic and consensual governance systems were choked and sat on by extractive, individualistic and confrontational governance systems which were inherited at independence.
    But the nations did not die and 2 political systems ran concurrently with the now rival nations within the nation, competing for overall power with its perceived rewards. More elbow room was created with multiparty politics, to the PEV climax.

    Choice and trajectory
    The OAU founders were aware of the unviability of the new-born states and the potential conflicts but logically prioritized full continental political freedom to be followed by African economic liberation and integration. Economic integration leads to monetary and political union, peacefully erasing the 1885 borders. This would grow into a confederation of the precolonial states from self-interest evolving governance, economic and other systems from African heritage because it:
    .1 Forms the second largest land mass in the world at 30 m sq. km, about 60 times of Kenya’s.
    .2 Is very defensible Surrounded by shortest coast line a relative to its area,.
    .3 The largest ethnic group, the Hausa, in 9 countries is less than 5 % of the total population of 1.1 b.
    The AU is still on that path, but, unfortunately, the people don’t know and, in a neo-colonial set-up, are easy to manipulate, jostling for scraps while the erstwhile colonizers siphon the bulk of the wealth through modified theft and arm-twisting. Therefore, we lacking basic needs, remain poor and weak in our own land and easily join any cause that seems to fill the belly for a day, while our adversaries “help” us in ways that maintain that state of affairs.

    Self-awareness
    If a way can be found to explain the above scenario to the grassroots, a great change would occur, as happens when someone learns that they have been conned. Unfortunately, most of those in a position to do so are complicit in the conning and are unlikely to set the public education in motion.
    But that is not the end of the story, very few of the collaborators are aware of the same history, the consequences of the collaboration and the fact that they are victims too. They simply think they are comfortable in a civilization that is not their own, something that is not possible due to the structures of that civilization.
    Hence, they also are victims of that system, which was set up to do exactly what it does and eventually collapses when those who pop it lose interest. Everyone inside it, rich or poor, losses everything.
    So, two things:
    .1 Knowing our real history
    .2 Accepting we are all victims
    Then there can be hope.