Friday, March 19, 2010

Raha Tupate na Ustawi (Plenty Be Found within our Boarders)

"Kenya has become a country of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars", said the Late J.M Kariuki when reminding the leaders then of their responsibility in building a country where all have an equal share of the opportunities for development. Today one looks around and notices great scarcity in our country. What happened? What went wrong such that 47 years after independence, we seem to be making baby steps in the fight against our greatest enemies - ignorance, poverty and disease? Today, on top of this three we have added crime with impunity, tribalism and corruption.

There is scarcity of innovation in service delivery. We have scarcity of food in dry times and scarcity of storage and processing in times of rain. We have scarcity of good performance in national exams and when we have better performance we have scarcity of admission positions in the next level. We have scarcity of manpower in key industries and scarcity of resources to employ the many graduates that are trained in our institutions. We have scarcity of provision and scarcity of the will -spiritual, political and economic- to address the same. We have scarcity of unity and scarcity of determination to make bridges between our various nations.

In this state of affairs, our national anthem reminds us that we are to build a country where plenty is found within our boarders. The swahili version is even more powerful - Raha Tupate na Ustawi . It connotes joy and being established with no worry or cares for provision. Today many a Kenyan have no time to create, innovate and reach their highest potential as they are boggled down by the search for basic provision. Their dawn to dusk is characterized by the search for some elusive cash to make their lives better. Economic growth registered seems to have had very little impact on the development of the people especially for those on the lower levels of the income quartile.

But how can we find this joy and peace of establishment. How can we have plenty within our boarders? Is it by higher economic growth rates? Is it by implementing better economic redistribution mechanisms? Is it by devolving government to lower units that have authority in their respective areas? Is it by making greater fiscal transfers to the grassroots? This is the query that has been taking the better part of my thinking faculties.

Whereas, the above measures are key and important to institute and follow through I think we need to do two things.

A. Maximize on each area's competitive edge and comparative advantage: Each region in this country has its own potential. What if we invested in increasing in each regions potential? For instance making the North Eastern part the lead producer in Beef and related products, Fruits and Honey. What about various nuts (coconuts, cashew nuts and peanuts etc) in Coast as well as tourism. This is just to mention but a few. All we need is mapping potential and investing in it in terms of production and returns on investment.

B. Each to have just what is enough and rightful theirs: Kenya has enough for all of us but very little for any one individual who wants it all for himself. We have scarcity because some of our brothers and sisters have taken more than they need and what belongs to others. What if we each committed to just having enough and letting others have the rest that is rightfully theirs.

In all this lets be reminded and encouraged by the words of Zechariah that change in Kenya will not come by own power and might but by the spirit of the Living God (Zech 4:6 NIV). He is our father and has our best interests at heart.

What do you think we can do to make Kenya a country where there is plenty for each of us? For it is you and I who will make a difference in Kenya.

In Service to God and My Country.


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