Thursday, March 11, 2010

May We Dwell in Unity, Peace and Liberty

Dwelling in Unity, Peace and Liberty with people of all walks of life is certainly a challenging call. Thats the commitment we make when we sing our national anthem. Every single Kenyan desires to live a life of unity, peace and liberty.

I attempt to define the four terms in this in the context of our national building and the current situation.

Dwelling connotes living and conducting ones life in a certain geographic area. This may imply conducting some work and engaging in a means to make a living. In the context of a country there are different geographical areas that one may live in and inevitably there are other people in the environs.

Unity has the the direct assumption that there are other persons who live in the area or that have a direct/indirect impact on your life. In our context we find ourselves living in the same geographical area called Kenya. We come from all walks of life and have differences of language, race, tribe/ethnic group, cultures, religions and much more. In such a context we have a choice to live on our own or to seek to live in harmony with others. We have a choice to make our differences our point of conflict or our point of uniting. I am convinced that our diversity if well utilized is our greatest strength. Unity is not uniformity; rather it is a focus to a common purpose. At its best unity is when each of us is doing their best and bringing their best effort to the table of decisions and development of our country. The strong uplifts the weak, the rich supports the poor, the fast encourage and make up for the slow etc. But in a state where the weak are mistreated and taken advantage of, it is impossible to have unity. We have to work extra hard to ensure that as much as is possible we bring every Kenyan to the table of decision.

Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the deliberate act of managing conflict and resolving contentious matters at their earliest. If you like peace is the work of always pulling out the roots of any weed of conflict as soon as bud shows up on the earth. Studies on conflict and even our own day to experiences show that what ends up becoming a huge conflict started as a small issue but was either ignored or deliberately fired up of sectarian interests. In Kenya, peace is often confused with calmness (or what one commentator has called cease fire). Just about two years after the Post Election Violence occured and some are already indicating that there is peace. I am of the unfortunate opinion that we do not have peace, rather we have conflict rich calmness. Why do I say so? The issues, the underlying causes of the conflicts in the past seem to remain unaddressed. For instance we are yet to address corruption with impunity, land ownership wrangles, human rights abused inflicted on fellow Kenyans and much more. As a result there is clamour for capture of political power by different communities so as to be able to sought out ( some read this as "to revenge"). In this kind of a context it is difficult to talk of peace. To live in peace with fellow Kenyans is a deliberate decision that you and I need to make. Some people make it difficult to live in peace with them and no wonder the advice from the Holy Bible in Hebrews 12:14 To strive for peace with all men. Peace is expensive because it calls for personal sacrifice and a willingness to compromise some hard lines so as to accommodate the other person.

Liberty means freedom. and for me the greatest thing that freedom should enhance, is the opportunity for all Kenyans to seek and achieve their highest aspirations both individually and collectively. Thus it follows that such people will never be equal. People who are pursuing their aspirations in a supportive environment will always be difficult to manipulate. Lawrence Reed advances the argument that free people are not equal and equal people are not free in his paper, seven principles of sound public policy (see Therefore one understands where every effort to ensure liberty is oftenly opposed. Because in a manipulative system, that ours has become, there needs to be unquestioning foot soldiers. Once you make them free then you loose them. They are free to choose you and free to choose your opponent.

Thus we dwell in everything else minus sufficient presence of peace, unity and liberty. That explains why one meets faces of frustrated people who work long hours to no avail. They struggle every day to live a comfortable life.

What then shall we do? Just like new wine destroys an old wineskin, it is impossible to find peace, unity and liberty by using the same old systems that have facilitated disunity, conflict and oppression. Failure is doing the same things, the same way but expecting different results. In my mind two things stand out.

A. Change of Software: With this, I refer to each of us individually changes our attitude and way of doing things. I hold the view that a safe journey is a result of two things, with a constant of God's guidance. This are a good driver and a functional car. Thus we must focus and get right the drivers of national building and these are the individual kenyans. We need to remove the current faulty operating system that is characterized by no respect for public property, impunity, corruption, blaming others for own fault and greed in all its faces. In place we need an operating system that is characterised by personal responsibility, the rule of law and integrity in all aspects of our national fibre.

B. Change the hardware: Even the best of drivers knows that his success depends on the condition of the car. I must submit that we are driving a faulty car. It has shown all signs of malfunction but we keep on. two things are likely, it will either crash and kill us of it will stall and cost us big time. Fixing it will cost us so much more. We must as a matter of urgency change our hardware - call it reforms or whatever else, we need a system change. This must cover all facets; education, land, leadership, development models and resource allocation.

Then and only then shall we start the true journey of dwelling in peace love and unity.

Be part of this change.

In Service to God and Country.


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