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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Confusion on the future of Africa?

“What happened to the days when members of a society used to come together to solve their own problems, e.g. do clean ups once every month and feast afterwards? call me a conservative but, I really think Change has done Africa more harm than good.” Says a Facebook friend.

This got me thinking and I hope the same will happen to you help me think this through.

My mind almost exploded when I started a careful introspection of the words in the two sentences. What is the meaning of change in Africa? And with respect to who should this meaning apply? Given the challenges that we face now as a continent, are they going to be solved if we return to our traditions? Will this give us clear identity and focus? What is our shared tradition?

Case Study: Kenya
 The Coalition Government of the TNA, the URP, NARC and RC are now in power with President Uhuru Kenyatta as the leader. How does the Manifesto of the Jubilee government give an insight into the questions raised above? What does it teach us about the Kenyan system of governance? The assumptions that have been made here are that Kenyan people read the manifestos of the eight political parties vying for the presidency and decided that President Uhuru Kenyatta could relate to their issues and move the country forward.
The central pillars of the coalition which illustrate the Agenda that this Government for Kenya are Unity, the Economy and Openness. These will help them achieve the goals of
  • Putting food and clean water on every Kenyan table
  • Ensuring that every child in Kenya gets quality education
  • Creating wealth
  • Ensuring that every Kenyan gets quality and affordable healthcare
  • Empowering Kenyan women to take their rightful place in development
  • Ensuring the safety of Kenya internally and externally
  • Developing a cogent foreign relations and trade policy for Kenya
In the first pillar the coalition realizes the need to build nation cohesion by eliminating ethnic divisions but faces a challenge. Kenyan politics has been mired in personal animosity which often turns into ethnic rivalry that political competitors employ for political gain. The continuation of the analysis into the other two pillars will continue in my future posts. I want to make this very readable.
To some people this first quarter of the manifesto does not constitute good leadership. This is because of our dire need of the politics of the west that we see in the television. Some of us have labelled it the “politics of ideas”.

This is further from the truth. The politics that we get a glimpse of in the television regarding the west is much more complicated. USA for instance has legalized the act of giving your government money to push bills into laws. So the ideas that are most of the time voiced by these candidates are backed by money and this means that the plight of the poor and the vulnerable is not a priority because they do not have the money to participate in the political process.

The Kenyan government through its manifesto has fulfilled my idea of community by its goals. It has shown that the country has a tradition of caring for the weak and the vulnerable. It has also shown that members of the community are coming together to solve their own problems. This coalition government understands that power and authority can never be achieved if it cannot convince of its intention to do good and right. Whether action is taken is a conversation for another day.