Leadership, National Cohesion

It Is Time To Return To The Basics of Our Nationhood

This week I have been reflect­ing on the state of our Nation. Our pol­i­tics seems to be bro­ken with end­less dis­agree­ments, our econ­o­my is yet to find its foot­ing, our devolved Gov­ern­ments are not giv­ing full val­ue to the mil­lions of Kenyans across the coun­try. And I am tempt­ed to imag­ine a new Kenya that works for all of us. A tru­ly unit­ed Kenya in which every cit­i­zen has an oppor­tu­ni­ty to earn a decent, sus­tain­able liveli­hood. There are three path­ways that can lead to that Kenya.

The first path­way can be summed up in one word – orga­niz­ing. Com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing will enable our peo­ple to crit­i­cal­ly unearth their chal­lenges, artic­u­late solu­tions and hold lead­ers account­able in imple­ment­ing these solu­tions. As such, com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing fuels the kind of social pow­er that enforces last­ing change in a society.

To orga­nize our com­mu­ni­ty requires lead­ers to shep­herd the nation to respond to prac­ti­cal socio-eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal demands in which case we must be will­ing to sac­ri­fice unten­able endeav­ors for com­mon good. We must not under­mine each oth­er as we all have a role to play. Every Kenyan house­hold is look­ing up to our God giv­en Nat­ur­al Cap­i­tal for their liveli­hood. You can there­fore pic­ture just like in a wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny where every small detail must fall in place, how metic­u­lous we must be in plan­ning because every sin­gle house­hold in Kenya counts.

Delib­er­ate com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing guid­ed by a well-designed tool such as Vision 2030 can help us to tack­le a crit­i­cal prob­lem like water scarci­ty. It is ungod­ly that mil­lions of rur­al com­mu­ni­ties strug­gle to access water in a coun­try that enjoys 60 years of independence.

Com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing must have a laser focus on pol­i­cy. If an inter­ven­tion is not cap­tured in pol­i­cy, it will nev­er be achieved.  For instance, the con­sti­tu­tion asserts in Arti­cle 43 that every per­son has the right to clean and safe water in ade­quate quan­ti­ties. In order to actu­al­ize this, Kenya launched the Nation­al Water Mas­ter Plan 2030 in 2014. To real­ize this Mas­ter Plan before 2030, it will take an invest­ment of about Ksh1.9 Trillion.

Through com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing and with effi­cient devel­op­ment plans, Coun­ty Gov­ern­ments have a con­sti­tu­tion­al man­date to mobi­lize these funds and deliv­er suf­fi­cient clean water to the people.

This ush­ers me to my sug­gest­ed sec­ond path­way, empow­er­ment! Imag­ine a com­mu­ni­ty whose orga­niz­ing leads the gov­ern­ment to intro­duce piped water into the local­i­ty. Each com­mu­ni­ty mem­ber will real­ize their pow­er both col­lec­tive­ly and as individuals.

Trust pre­cedes empow­er­ment. For peo­ple to pull togeth­er for a com­mon cause, they must trust that they have each other’s best inter­ests at heart. If such trust is lack­ing, they will begin to pull apart which will dis­em­pow­er them. Most peo­ple assume that empow­er­ment is con­fined to eco­nom­ic empow­er­ment, which isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly the case. Empow­er­ment starts with integri­ty and char­ac­ter. With­out these two, both intel­lec­tu­al and eco­nom­ic empow­er­ment will not achieve com­mon good. Cost of liv­ing is a mis­nomer. Cur­rent pro­duc­tiv­i­ty equals to poor house­holds. About 29 out of 47 coun­ties are strug­gling in var­i­ous dis­as­ters and unfore­seen effects of Cli­mate Change. Yet the same coun­ties have vast land whose pro­duc­tiv­i­ty can be increased a thou­sand-fold lead­ing to nour­ish­ing empowerment.

Final­ly, secu­ri­ty is the third path­way towards a bet­ter Kenya. Bound­aries define secu­ri­ty. With­out them, any­one can do any­thing at any time. Nation­al bound­aries help a nation to secure its cit­i­zens by secur­ing its bor­ders. With­in those bor­ders, the police ensure that cit­i­zens respect social bound­aries and norms. Even in the fam­i­ly set­up, bound­aries pro­vide secu­ri­ty. Such is the holis­tic secu­ri­ty that will guide us to a bet­ter Kenya.

These three path­ways of com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tion, empow­er­ment and secu­ri­ty will help us to orga­nize Kenya social­ly, eco­nom­i­cal­ly and polit­i­cal­ly. I dare say that what we are cur­rent­ly super­im­pos­ing san­i­ty on top of insan­i­ty in which case we are breed­ing an out­ra­geous mon­ster with 47 legs and a com­i­cal look­ing head.  We must treat Kenya as a fam­i­ly enter­prise that requires us to pull togeth­er, not apart. Think green. Act green!

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Founder and Chair­per­son of Green Africa Foun­da­tion, an orga­ni­za­tion that was found­ed in the year 2000 that cham­pi­ons Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment in Africa.

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