Kenya is a nation at cross roads, leadership cross roads to be precise. The Pre-
independence generation still controls the key instruments of state but it is slowly but
surely being phased out of positions of leadership.
From the private sector to public institutions, this change can be witnessed in the
general age bracket of incoming Chief Executives and those holding key offices in
management. This generational change in the corporate world has been in the making
for a few years and looks set to continue at an even faster rate.
Politics seemed to be lagging behind but it has quickly followed the trend. Kenyan
politics being what it is, most people equated change with one politician leaving party
x to join party y. But this is not the change I am talking about; instead I am talking of
a complete overhaul of sorts.
A new generation of Kenyan politicians is emerging, the generation that grew up in the
seventies and more so in the eighties. This is what I would like to refer to as Kenya?s
own generation “X” or “Kizazi cha maziwa ya Nyayo”. This is the generation that grew
up knowing that Moi was synonymous with the term President and hence there was
Moi wa Uganda and Moi wa Tanzania. This is the generation that witnessed the
agitation for a return to multi party politics but some of them were too young to fully
participate in it.
The events taking place in the Middle East since the beginning of 2011 have not
gone unnoticed by the “maziwa ya nyayo generation”. The demand for genuine change
and democracy in the Middle East is something this generation views with a lot of
admiration but unfortunately cannot replicate back home due to the fact that the
poisonous tribal thinking devoid of a national outlook of the pre- independence
generation has found its way in it.
Let me illustrate: If a group of protesters were to meet at Uhuru Park led by an
individual whose surname begins with the letter “O” they would be dismissed as busy
bodies out to undermine the Presidency of Mwai Kibaki. If the same group was to be
led by an individual whose surname begins with the letter “K” they would be dismissed
as a tribal alliance out to ensure that Prime minister Raila Odinga doesn?t make it to
This notwithstanding the fact that generation “X” had bore the brunt of grand
corruption, poor governance, nepotism and tribalism witnessed in Kenya since
independence. The pre - independence generation inherited from the colonialists a
state that was at par with many middle class economies of the time. Unfortunately,
through the systematic plunder of state coffers, outright mismanagement of public institutions and sheer mediocrity in the running of the affairs of the state;
1. Over 60% of the Kenyan population lives on less than 1 dollar a day;
2. Over 70% of urban dwellers live in slums and informal settlements;
3. Drought and hunger continue to decimate populations in North Eastern and parts of Eastern Kenya year in year out;
4. Basic health care is unattainable to the majority of citizens, and
5. The rate of unemployment is conveniently never released by government for fear that the figures are downright obscene and unacceptable to the electorate.
The question then that arises is;
1. How and what is the “maziwa ya nyayo generation” going to do differently to ensure that it does not repeat the mistakes of its predecessor?
2. Will this generation still appeal to voters on the basis of their tribes and the regions they come from or will it appeal to voters on nationalistic values and ideals?
3. Will this generation get into office through voter bribery, intimidation and
outright theft or will it conduct itself with dignity and decorum?
4. Will this generation continue to perfect the art of fanning negative ethnicity if and when it suits it or will it be at the fore front of advocating for unity in diversity?
Someone once said that "Maturity does not necessarily come with age but instead
maturity is the ability of an individual to handle responsibility."
The 10th parliament has its fair share of generation “X” politicians, but unfortunately from what we have seen so far they seem to be exemplary students of the pre- independence generation politicians.
They have continued to keep silent as thousands of Kenyans continue to live in deplorable conditions in IDP camps.
Their names have also featured prominently in corruption allegations from the maize scandal to drug trafficking dossiers from foreign diplomats.
Surely, the “maziwa ya nyayo generation” seems to have quickly learned the ropes and Kenya is watching.
Article by Anthony Kaara,
A Director of Sauti Ya Jamii Programme.
735607 day(s) ago by kifalme