Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kenya 2.0 - now improved, with Power Foam

 The attainment of freedom in many cases resulted merely in the change in colors, from white to black faces without ending exploitation and injustices and above all without the betterment of the life of the masses. - J.K. Nyerere, 1967.

This is Kenya’s moment to chart a new course, to try and correct the all the things that went wrong and lead us to the hatred and carnage of 2007/08.

I can list a lot of things that I would like to see corrected, but I would like to point to one issue that I take to heart. The education system. This is just wrong. As Nyerere said, we just inherited a colonial state and Kenyanised it at face value but left everything else intact.

Kenya's education system is designed to create armies of obedient workers to supply the ruling class with labour. Because this is so deliberate, you will rarely see a Kenyan Ruler (not leader) educate their children here. Having a meal the other day at cafe in downtown Nairobi, I couldn't help but notice how young, obedient and diligent the staff were. They were all dressed in blue half sweaters and white shirts with blue trouser/skirts - all so uniformly and subdued. This brought the point home for me. It clicked - this is what our education system has made all of us to be. In turn the society has accepted this as their fate, especially if you are employed.

But how about the suffering majority, who are in the informal sector. This is the force that really drives Kenya. Equity bank says that they managed to transact over 400 million shillings within the first few weeks of M-Kesho. Now tell me if this does not demonstrate the immense power of the informal sector. But the system does not favour them. Instead it favors the rulers and their commercial interests.

The jua kali market in Kamukunji has been that way ever since I started using that route in the late 70s, being driven to school or church, in a KBS, Ford Nguruwe, Manyanga (in that order). These guys do big business but the whole Kenyan economy is not wired up to their favour, so they continue to produce brilliant pieces that are snapped up by clever middlemen who in turn supply the malls. Mr Jua Kali is left to complain that he would like his GOVERNMENT to build a bigger shade to shield him for the hot sun.

This obvious disparity in wealth creation is what led to the hostility and hatred. This obvious feeling that some guys have it better than us. This situation is akin to forced labour and I really hope that Atwoli has woken up and smelt the coffee, because he has his work cut out in looking after the interests of workers in Kenya.

I want to see a Kenya where I am only limited by my laxity and nothing more. Where hard work, creativity, intelligence, talent and individual effort is recognized and rewarded.

1 comment:

Rafiki said...

Thank you for embracing Kenya 2.0
A great future for all of us!