Dear Mr. President,

His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta CGH President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces…wow!

Such great titles you have there!

People call me Wevyn Muganda, sometimes they add a Miss and that’s pretty much it. However, amongst my friends and the communities I serve, they refer to me as Kiongos (leader). As casual and informal as the title sounds, I carry it to heart and mind with so much weight. Every day I go out to work I ask what else I can do to make my country better. You see, leadership is not a privilege, it is a responsibility, one that calls for commitment, service to country, wisdom, grace, empathy, passion, integrity and a burning desire to make everyone’s lives better each day. Leadership is one of the most honourable positions, whether it is in the family, school,office,neighbourhood or like in your case country. My guess is you already know this and you are probably wondering the need to remind you.

This is why Sir.

Over the past few months, citizens of the country you lead have gone to the streets online and offline to protest against human rights violations, enforced disappearances, corruption, femicide, gender based violence, the housing levy fund, Huduma Number just to mention but a few. I find it disturbing that from all these protests you have not come out to call for a sober discussion on these issues. Instead, we the people, have been bombarded by threats, some have been teargassed and even intimidated for raising their voices over these issues. As if picketing and protesting is not guaranteed in our Constitution. As if the citizen’s participation in civic and national processes is a favor not a right.

women protesting in Mombasa

        Femicide March 2019 in Mombasa. 

From January to May 2019, Counting Dead Women has recorded over 50 cases of femicide. 50! Hamsini yaani Sir. Doesn’t it bother you? That you have failed to protect and preserve the rights of 50 Kenyan women. In Mombasa, HAKI Africa has documented cases of 62 killings in 2018 and 24 killings in 2019, most of them young men. Here is the scariest bit, most of these killings are allegedly by the police. The institution mandated to protect its citizens.

Crime, corruption and human rights violations are signs that our Constitution has been undermined. It shows that the rule of law is just a phrase state and non-state actors throw around out of idleness. I am young and female, with no political experience but I know a thing or two about leadership. I am a citizen of Kenya and a taxpayer. I can confidently say it with my chest that you need to listen to me. We have heard your promises to fight corruption since 2013. We have heard you talk about a government that cares about young people even though you do not involve us in anything other than PR campaigns. We have heard it all, in fact if I hadn’t lived in Kenya for long enough I’d believe you the last time when you addressed the nation. But I don’t believe you anymore. Can you blame me?

I want to see the thieves behind bars eating boiled mbosho and serving their term just like the rest of the criminals in prisons. The policemen that have killed young men in Mombasa should be tried and put to jail, let them live by the Constitution they are mandated to execute. I want to see the looted billions of shillings returned and used for real development not the money making development scams we are subjected to. Let this money go into building classrooms for the children in Kilifi, Turkana, Garissa and other impoverished communities. Imagine Mr. President we are in 2019 and children have no classrooms, desks, books but here in the city we are talking about a new curriculum, the competency based curriculum that will require using the internet to complete assignments. Internet Boss! Hawa wasee hata hawana stima bana (These people don’t have electricity).

I heard you want to leave a legacy. I’m generous enough to tell you what I would have done if I were in your shoes. Let the government respect its people. Hold institutions and leaders accountable. Let the government involve its people. Invite us to give our opinions on development projects, we know what we want. After you have invited us, don’t just hear us, listen to us. Listen to the children and the youths. Listen to the women and the people living with disability. Listen to the elderly, the poor and those from the smallest ethnic communities.

Because even when you claim to listen, you only get to hear from the elite and middle class citizens and they don’t even make half of the population you serve.

Long Letter Short,The buck stops with you!

Can you serve us with the same zeal you had during your campaign?

Sincerely,
Frustrated young female Kenyan taxpayer

Featured Images by Sharon Kioko and Pauline Kwamboka

Beyond the Lines has been nominated for the BAKE Awards under the best social issues and active citizenship blog category. To vote, click here and scroll down to 22e.

 

 

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