Business, Leadership, News

Women May Hold the Key to Our Unity and National Transformation

A few days ago on Thurs­day 27th May, I was priv­i­leged to offer the final prayer dur­ing the eigh­teenth Nation­al Prayer Break­fast that was held at Par­lia­ment Grounds. Just before my prayer to God Almighty that our lead­ers may work in uni­ty, Pres­i­dent Uhu­ru Keny­at­ta spoke very pow­er­ful words when he ref­er­enced Peter Waiya­ki, the keynote speak­er and said that, ‘Bwana Waiya­ki asante sana. I don’t think there is a word I would remove from what you have said. Let it not be that we have heard today and tomor­row we have for­got­ten. Hope is a con­tin­u­ous process. It’s how we live every day that matters.’

The fact that the Pres­i­dent com­mit­ted him­self to the mes­sage in Mr. Waiyak­i’s speech was quite com­mend­able because the speech was quite hard hitting.

“The cor­rup­tion scan­dals we thought were gone in 2002, 2010 and 2013 are back with a vengeance. One feels they real­ly nev­er went away. Kenyans now have a sense of despair as they come to terms with both low lev­el and high lev­el of cor­rup­tion,” Mr. Waiya­ki said at one point.

In his brief remarks, Pres­i­dent Keny­at­ta gave the nation a pow­er­ful anti­dote that can be used not only to fight this peren­ni­al cor­rup­tion but also trans­form the nation dras­ti­cal­ly. The Pres­i­dent said that, ‘Kenya can­not be changed by any sin­gle per­son. But us work­ing togeth­er, we can and we shall make a difference.’

The key words here are ‘work­ing togeth­er.’ Inci­den­tal­ly, Deputy Pres­i­dent ref­er­ence also used that word — togeth­er — when he ref­er­enced a pre­vi­ous speech by the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Raila Odin­ga. In that speech, Right Hon. Raila Odin­ga remind­ed the nation about Isa­iah 1:18 in which the Almighty God calls out to His peo­ple to ‘come let us rea­son together.’

Clear­ly, a time has come for Kenyans to come togeth­er and stop pulling in dif­fer­ent direc­tions. This may not be entire­ly fea­si­ble in pol­i­tics because ulti­mate­ly pol­i­tics is a game of com­pe­ti­tion. But pol­i­tics should not be an imped­i­ment for Kenyans of good­will to come togeth­er eco­nom­i­cal­ly, envi­ron­men­tal­ly and in healthcare.

Four out of ten Kenyans live below the pover­ty line. Pover­ty is a tro­jan horse that brings with it a fleet of oth­er ene­mies includ­ing dis­ease, unem­ploy­ment and food inse­cu­ri­ty. This means that when peo­ple live below the pover­ty line, they are almost always unem­ployed; they are prone to dis­ease and they are caught in the clutch­es of ram­pant food inse­cu­ri­ty. It is there­fore accu­rate to say that four out of ten Kenyans are strug­gling to find jobs, put food on the table and com­bat dis­ease. As a nation, we must pull togeth­er to pull them out of this morass.

In order to come togeth­er in a pow­er­ful way that will engen­der trans­for­ma­tion, we need to bor­row a leaf from our women. The UN Women reports that rur­al women are key agents for devel­op­ment. This is because ‘they play a cat­alyt­ic role towards achieve­ment of trans­for­ma­tion­al eco­nom­ic, envi­ron­men­tal and social changes required for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.’ Its no won­der there­fore that if we equip our women with suf­fi­cient tools and financ­ing, there will be 150 mil­lion few­er hun­gry peo­ple in the world.

If Kenyans are to come togeth­er to com­bat hunger, dis­ease and unem­ploy­ment, there is need for us to take unprece­dent­ed action to empow­er our women with tools that will enable them to be more prof­itable in busi­ness and secure bet­ter jobs. They can no longer be con­signed to the periph­ery. Now that we have Kenya’s first ever female Chief Jus­tice and East Africa’s first ever full-fledged Pres­i­dent, we must accel­er­ate women empow­er­ment in all sec­tors, more so in rur­al areas.

Mean­while, I call upon women lead­ers in this nation to rise to the occa­sion and do what their male coun­ter­parts seem unable to do some­times — pull togeth­er in com­bat­ing the press­ing prob­lems that we are fac­ing. They might just be the key to our long quest for Nation­al Transformation.

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About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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