Making Kenyan history

Written By: Geofrey Okoth
1714

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We have a rich history, full of creativity, full of accomplishments.

Long prior to the Bantu expansion across our part of Africa, homo sapiens had been settled in these lands for millennia.

Lake Turkana shows signs of life from almost four million years ago, and tools have been found which some archaeologists date to over a million years old! A resourceful people even back then!

From our hunter gatherer ancestors through to the Iron Age settlements of the Bantu expansion in the first millennia BCE, the people of this land have always been a uniquely enterprising people.  Real survivors.  Even fast forwarding through to colonial times, this did not change.

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We did not just lie down and accept the suffering. We rose up. We stood up for ourselves and took our fate into our hands. The Portuguese were the first European colonisers here, and they were followed by Omani Arabs and then of course finally the British. Rumblings of revolt were felt throughout

However, it was the Mau Mau revolution that went down in history.  In the 1950s the patience of the Kenyans, led by the Kikuyu, finally snapped. This was local, this was organic, this was Kenyan.  The Brits tried to divide and conquer, but the issues of land rights and the anti-British feeling was too strong. The people came together.

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Even with independence, the struggles were not over.  We faced despotism and dictatorship, a constitutional struggle.  Debates about democracy and the nature of the state remain up to this very day.

Yet from Kenyatta to Moi, through the Post Election Violence of 2007, and right up to the recent handshake between Uhuru and Raila, us Kenyans have always managed to (eventually) come together and make history.

Right now, we have another battle on our hands. Another opportunity to come together and make history for the sake of our future. For the sake of our children.

Daima mbele, as the saying goes. We must keep moving forward.

War against graft

Today, the greatest impediment to moving forward is the issue of corruption.

This is our contemporary opportunity to come together and make history.  Graft today is endemic in our society.  It plagues all sectors; at all levels.

But finally, it appears that the authorities are taking it seriously. Kenya, in the space of a few months has become one of the most aggressive countries in the world in its fight against corruption.

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We have seen former governors and current governors arrested, and waves of arrests in some of our most important parastatals (notably Kenya Power and the NYS).

Kenyan politicians have begun to realise that they must now lead by example. It is no longer good enough to just talk the talk. They must walk the walk.

Stringent lifestyle audits and international courses for bureaucrats are setting a new standard in the war against graft.

Most recently, the authorities arrested a number of high level officials who have been accused of of corruption in our greatest mega-project to date, the Madaraka express, a $3.2bn project.

14 civil servants and businessmen are under investigation and three different companies are in the dock.  These are not low level official either.

Some of those arrested and indicted include Mohammed Abdalla Swazuri, who is chairman of the National Land Commission (NLC), and Atanas Kariuki Maina, managing director at the Kenya Railways Corporation.

Our Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) are leaving no stone unturned.

This recent wave of arrests really is nothing short of historic.

Let us not forget that the Madaraka Express is part of China’s own “One Belt, One Road” initiative.  If there is evidence of similar activity in other Chinese projects around the world, a Kenyan stone in the water could make ripples all around the world.

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While no Chinese have been accused as of yet, these court cases are likely to reveal more bombshells which will inevitably cause more heads to roll.

So once again, Kenya is making the headlines, it is making history.  Corruption is as much a plague on our homes as British Colonialism and Moi’s one party state.  At least 400 million USD of our public money has gone missing.  Now is the time to make amends.

The new campaign and spirit of ‘the handshake’ has been more than encouraging.  Of course, Kila mwanzo ni mzito, this is just the beginning.

But as Uhuru said in Kisii at a rally to mark International Youth Day, “The power is in your hands to end this vice in this country.” As Kenyans, we have never been afraid to take power into our own hands. In the fight against corruption, we will once again make history.

 

Views expressed in this article do not represent the opinion of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

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