Nataka Kuwa Mkenya Mzalendo

Not too long ago, I told someone that Kenya could be a nation of brilliant,innovative,entrepreneurial minds…but with no food to eat. I never thought that I’d come as close as I have to witnessing this very near reality.

I salute the great minds putting Kenya on the world map,especially in technology and athletics,a standing ovation to all those making history on said fronts,and any others!

Meanwhile,we are making history on the other side as well. Negative history. The story currently being told of Kenya is disheartening,to put it very lightly. As someone has so rightly put it,now,more than ever before,we are a hungry,and an angry nation.

4 million of us have gone to bed this evening without a decent meal. 4 million,and counting. Kenya has been paralleled to Somalia,a failed state,in this drought crisis. We are home to the world’s largest refugee camp,as I’ve recently learnt. And to add salt to injury,those we have entrusted to govern this country are only looking out for themselves. That someone can dare open their mouth and utter the very insulting words,that they will take a bigger potion of the nation’s depleting resources for themselves,is downright inhumane.

And we have asked,who is to blame?

We may not wanna admit it,but we are to blame. This evening,I have been thoroughly humbled to this reality. We were forewarned,and we didn’t do much to prevent the present atrocities that now affect even those of us who have had 3 meals today.

We have looked out for ourselves,and created these “safety bubbles” within which we have chosen to exist. And at every sight of danger, we have made this bubble smaller,more taut, all the while not realizing that it is we,who are suffocating.

These are dire times,but I am so thankful because there is hope! This evening,I have borne the pain of the nation,and allowed it to overwhelm me. I have cried,I have prayed. Now I want to act.

Dear Kenyans, I want to be a true patriot. Nataka kuwa Mkenya Mzalendo! And I know that I am not alone. One of Kenya’s unique traits is that our generation has not undergone a ‘civil war’ like most other African nations have/are undergoing. While it isn’t guns and tangible injustices that dominate the streets, we face these intangible injustices that have for far too long gone unnoticed,unaddressed and under our radar. Our silent protestations have only perpetrated these injustices, and created breeding ground for them. What we now see are the fruits of our silence. Drought, poor governance,leaders gone astray…

There is hope though,IF,we let this be the absolute rock bottom,the worst case scenario that Kenya faces. We need to stop pointing fingers at our leaders, for they are but a representation of us. While one finger points at them,the other four point at you,at me. Sometimes I think we allow them to get away with their self-aggrandisement schemes. Who is stopping them? Who has kept them in check,that they pause and think about what they say? Do? Is it that we assumed that the work ended when we cast our votes in the ballot box? For therein lies our problem.

This negative history being written derives from most of the good that’s been brought forth. What good is a nation of brilliant minds,but starving stomachs?

All that is happening within Kenya’s boundaries isn’t without reason. We are at a crucial threshold, and we need to see it for the opportunity it presents; the opportunity to approach matters differently. We have tried indifference, disillusion,apathy, and behold,the results. Turn on the news sometime if you need a refresher,else,wait for your imminent suffocation in the bubble of self-preservation you may have chosen to exist in. Exist,not live,for that cannot be living!

Elections forthcoming,drought encroaching,poor governance/failed leadership manifesting(having manifested). We can and should see it for the unfortunate situation it is,but we will have served this nation the worst blow if we stop there!
A better Kenya will not be realized via our collective dreaming and imagination. To quote Just A Band:
“It’s time to roll up some sleeves, we got people eating leaves,and things you can’t believe.”

Not only should we address the immediate crises, but work on ensuring that we NEVER see this happen again.

I would like to especially salute Ahmed Salim for taking matters into his hands and effectively rallying us behind the #feedKE. May history have a place for great Kenyans like you sir!

Nataka Kuwa Mkenya Mzalendo. I want to BE a patriotic Kenyan. Time to take action!


By Nanjira

Perched at the intersection of tech & governance, media, culture.