By Philo Ikonya
- Is there or isn’t there oil in Kenya?
In memory of J. M. Kariuki, 2th March 1975.
Who among our politicians today can be interested to the point of obsession with the ‘eyes of a hungry child?’ like J. M. Kariuki was in his days? Who? Who cries in the same breath for Pokot, Kiambu and Shimo la Tewa, as he did? He represented the peoples' voice in Parliament, he was it.. who is there today for our voice?
We daily follow what politicians are planning and saying in Kenya but they do not reciprocate our interest by leading people to more consciousness, a deeper level. What am I talking about?
I feel those who are powerful through our votes in Kenya do not exercise their power and use the platforms we give them to make us into a nation.We should never have expected them to do that. We have to do it ourselves. But we have to make this work easier by electing people who act upon what we voice and also voice it themselves. People whose minds even go beyond our own thinking, people with foresight. We are tired of the ones who cannot even with the benefit of hindsight see how important it is that Kenya becomes more cohesive by means of zeor tolerance of corruption and impunity.
Those we have today are unable to help unite our nation against things that others have conquered on our continent and in which we should be the giants to watch. We have to spend so much time on tribalism, police brutality and harassment, the Hague, makeshift parties to deliver votes for tomorrow that we forget the urgency with which the sick in Kenya need medical improvements.
We forget to start challenging the making of the budget to be read in June today. Now with the crisis in the North how will the cost of paraffin be affected in Kenya? Why has this government dragged its feet on the prospection of oil in Kenya using Chinese firms rather than the more efficient Canadians who have sealed their deals in Uganda and Ghana?
If we discover oil in Kenya will we grow like Ghana or become a Nigeria? Will the oil be used as in Norway to benefit all the people or be grabbed as are minerals found in Kenya also by politically connected individuals.
The East African newspaper exposed this and challenged your poor work at finding oil in 2008/2009. Today The Economist tells us that African countries: Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and others are forecast to improve their growth to higher digits in 2011, with Ghana reaching double digits provided our politics improved. This is what has failed Kenya for so long. http://www.economist.com/node/17493372
Yet Kenya was poised to improve based upon her agriculture. Are we serious about making this happen and helping many walk away from a poverty that kills?
Today I remember J.M Kariuki’s sharp vision for Kenya. I remember that he was young in his days. I remember his strength in Parliament. I remember he spoke out for the poor, and I am poor. I remember that he did not know me. I remember hearing of Terry and her struggle against a government turned monster. I remember hearing of her for very long before the day she tapped my shoulder on Loita Street on 14th of February 2009 and told me never to stop.
I know that J.M Kariuki like all of us had his faults. I know the history some unleash when you begin to see a hero, but I know that for some reason, unless we Kenyans allow ourselves the luxury of wasting our lives and that of generations to come, J M Kariuki was one of those people born with a spark that lights fires. He was not only charismatic but also dedicated. People like this are not found in droves. If they were many problems we have in Kenya would not be.
When I read how Kariuki spoke about ‘the eyes of a hungry eyes’ in the Hansard, how he spoke up for the widows and orphans of Mau Mau I know what he would have said about HIV positive people, I know what he would have said about IDPS today, about our youth and children. I know. And because I know it, I keep hearing it.
I know when I read him something stirs and burns like when I read Steve Biko, King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi. The list is much longer.
A deeper consciousness we need today. A more justice driven consciousness is a basic requirement. We cannot live as if Kenya is something we must use and dispose of, it is here for other generations. Let us demand a solid legacy, a nation where resources benefit us all.
Heart: See the tears and feel the desperation of voices that run like rivers of tears for Shahbaz Bhatti. 4th March 2011