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“Examining the trouble with Kenya”
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“Examining the trouble with Kenya”

A prolonged election process created a state of tension for Kenya. Sunday Memba, 21, a Correspondent from Matete in Kenya, examines the core of the problem and suggests how to move forward.

Chinua Achebe, the eminent African writer and critic, stated the problem on page one of his 1984 book, “The Trouble with Nigeria”.

“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership,” wrote the father of modern African Literature.

In speaking for Nigeria, he spoke for most of, if not the whole African continent.  Currently, Kenya faces a leadership crisis as the quest for power clouds the need for a good, credible and honest government. After the election, the country is still in limbo. After the nullification of the Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory, the two factions differed on fundamental aspects that are critical for the growth of this nation. The judiciary is now seen as the sword of Damocles over the executive, while the electoral body is thought to be an Augean Stable by the opposition.

The leading opposition coalition, the National Super Alliance (NASA) maintained that it cannot go to an election with the current election officials. This, they claim is the only modus operandi of ensuring a credible election happens. As per the Supreme Court judgment, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) failed fundamentally in ensuring that the election was credible. Thus, demonstrations have become the order of the day for the removal of the IEBC commissioners.

On the other hand, the current regime has embarked on changing the electoral laws. Elected representatives from the government insist that the amendments are necessary for a credible election. However, the opposition has openly rejected this move as backward and unnecessary. Some of the proposals are to have a manual system of electronic transmission, to bar the Supreme Court from invalidating a presidential election and reducing the powers of the chairperson of the electoral commission.

Sadly, leaders from both sides of the divide have spread dissent without considering the consequences. High political tensions are being experienced in some parts of the country. The tensions grow like the heads of the Hydra each single day.

One question that still stares starkly at us is whether we, the people of Kenya, can rise above the mediocre political rhetoric being propagated by the political pundits to a more sensible state. The supporters of each political side have defended their own leaders on narrow standpoints based on tribal inclination. Our constitution describes power as belonging to the people but represented by their elected representatives. Time has come for us to prudently use our inherent power to choose the best crop of leaders for our country.

But then, as I conclude, what is the trouble with Kenya? The trouble with Kenya is the absolute lack of steadfastness in the quest of a proper and fitting government by its citizens. Kenya has a hard working people, promising natural resources and a litany of youth with potential.  The Kenyan problem trickles down to the man in the Mwiki bus who cannot see the hope of our country but can easily accept the falsehoods of their tribal good. This is the trouble with Kenya.

photo credit: Sigfrid Lundberg L1010332_v1 via photopin (license)
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About me: I am a young Kenyan who believes in social justice and promoting the rights of every man, woman and child. My ability to write provides one of the best platforms to address key issues in Kenya.

Currently I am a law graduate and a writer with the Nairobi Law Monthly magazine. I am also enthusiastic about writing and reading.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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