To defend the democracy in Kenya, we need an informed, courageous and engaged citizenry to make Kenya work for Kenyans!
Yes, we are still talking about the politics in Kenya.
The past few weeks have been intense for Kenyans. There has been an overload of information, from voter education to peacebuilding campaigns among other calls to action regarding political participation. Kenyans put in work to ensure that we have a peaceful election as a bare minimum. Whether the process was free, fair, and credible is now up to the Supreme Court’s decision in the coming days.
We may or may not be having a re-run of the Presidential Elections. To be honest, I am not really as invested in the Supreme Court’s decision as I am in shaping citizen engagement in the next five years. Last week, I wrote about the hyper-focus on Presidential Elections. For many non-Kenyans, this is perhaps their only measure of democracy and governance.
But does our role as citizens end with voting? Is that all there is for us?
Definitely not. This is the time to step up to our civic duties. It is no secret that regardless of who is President, the country has a deeply rotten governance system that will take more than just a well-written manifesto to deconstruct.
So how do we do it? How do we take charge of the state of affairs in Kenya?
We can start by defending our Constitution, our values, the sovereignty of our country, and a personal commitment to hold all political leaders accountable as per Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Kenya on Leadership and Integrity. We need Kenyans who will ask the hard questions, provoke uncomfortable conversations and defend our country, not through violence or political fanaticism but stand firm on our fundamental freedoms. We need people who can demand better governance while still holding space for nuanced discussions on the complex political history of Kenya.
We need a citizenry willing to take stock of the ruling party’s manifesto, their inclusion or lack thereof of marginalized groups, and the state of human rights. Let us defend our nation based on values, ideas, and our harsh development reality. We have done so well in letting politicians fight their battles in court. The reward, so to phrase it, is our peaceful elections.
Now it’s time to hold those elected in office accountable! The reward? I guess we’ll never know until we do it.
As usual, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes for us to reflect on.
‘If I am not for myself, who am I? When I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when’ – Hillel Rabbi