In life every one of us has their own story, all the stories are unique to that individual just like DNA, and stories may look alike but not the same.T hose before independence, and to date the stories have had 3 issues as the denominator, the issues mostly perceived and determined by the colonialists who regarded the African community as a backward illiterate society:
- Illiteracy, the colonialist disregarded our social structure that catered for all, making us believe literacy is going through western educational system, and to achieve that our stories spread from going to school on empty stomachs to without shoes and accessing education at advance age in life like that of 84 year old Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge, making him the oldest man in Kenya to attend primary school. The Guinness Book of World Records listed him as being the oldest person in the world to start primary school. Western education system became part of us growing up forgoing our culture
- Poverty, white man collaborated with the Africans during colonial period and thereafter the tribal kings perpetuated the narrative of poverty in Africa. The perpetuated belief created stories and pictures shot of how poverty has its pangs on people including the story of southern Sudan girl whose photo was taken with a vulture behind her waiting for her death. The picture was taken in 1993 but since then has that changed even after attaining right to self-determination? And was poverty an issue in African society before the colonial masters and how was the societal setups before?
- Diseases, from malaria to HIV/AIDS conditions and lately cancer that people have had their share of, to those with wealth and those without equalized by the pain of disease. The rich also cry for their loved ones, the powerful are powerless before the diseases. The current day colonial masters (tribal kings/ so called leaders) have ensured that systems (health, education, agriculture, manufacturing industries) don’t work so that they continue being beneficiaries of colonizing the masses with ‘mtu wetu’ syndrome. They are nor reaping from their own systems of neglect but they are slightly better because they can still afford to go abroad for treatment.
That which we are not told is, the continent is faced with the 3 issues as the main problems. Therefore being poor, sick or illiterate is normal what matters is what are you doing about your current status?
First we were told education has an effect of equalizing the poor and the rich as well as the solution to the 3 problems. However since the departure of the colonial power and inception of Africans as the leaders, things have taken a different turn. The Africans who fought for independence never enhanced the system of governance to accommodate growth through industries, and exploitation of natural resources. With 54 countries, the richest continent endowed with natural resources, every country has its tribes and every tribe has its own semi gods who call the shots. The tribes in power are the new colonial powers compared to the situation in which Britain had companies managing Africa on its behalf. Just like the companies the tribes in power manage Africa and on behalf of the western and eastern nations. Africa is growing and the debts are increasing every year, they are unable to negotiate for better deals because of the already incurred debts and the pressing demand for the infrastructural development which will never repay itself. The population has tripled since independence, democratic principles and laws are cut and paste without consideration of the people to extent of equating democracy to periodic shambolic elections. In Kenya government is taxing the citizens for every coin, and for everything including using the roads where the highway authority is introducing a new tax for those using highways!
Sounds brilliant as those with cars and businessmen will be the ones to feel the pain but the real effect is to the consumer who is the poor man who earns below a dollar. The cost will be transferred through increase of commodities. More to that, being young is equated to, a disillusioned and disinterested member of the society. Researchers have said that we (youth) do not care “how” we get anything what matters is we have it. Fortunately or unfortunately we constitute at least over 60% of our population not forgetting infotrak research, that Kenyans feel the country is headed in the wrong direction!
We were made to believe how our life should turn for the better after having gone through education but the reality is taking us into disarray. 90’s babies we grew up reading stories and society also told us how so and so became successful. Blinded with the stories, we went into education with expectations of success only to be stranded on the streets of Nairobi with our educational papers.
The same society revised the rules and told us to call our uncles/ aunties or they will call ‘mheshimiwas’, simply to find something other than having papers, that is connections or whom you know. From so and so went to school, the stories changed to so and so is related or known to who and through the linkage they got there. The education lost the “weight” and it became just a system that we have/had to go through as part of the growth / formal cultural expectations and get to the age of majority.
On July, 20th 2019, at unfungamano house, I was seated among young people from different walks of life for a book launch, entitled “UNBREAKABLE” by a young person who battled with his life story but decided to share the same life with us and those who come in long after we are gone. The author named Danish Odongo now is and will be described as an author for having shared the story of his life to encourage others and also fight for himself. “How” many of us can share their story only to inspire and tell their unfortunate story for others fortune?
Every story has its roots somewhere and for me the story lies within our governance. All our billionaires have had interactions with the government in one way or the other, what they possess may have been acquired through shoddy deals. Government ministers are the billionaires, state officers, are ranch and business owners, due to connection systems which have failed the governance system. Once on a dinner table, someone challenged us to think of a country as a home, government/ leadership as the two parents and the children as the citizens while those family members and neighbors as the neighboring countries! In the house if fathers and mothers fail to dispense their roles then that house becomes just another building and the children will suffer.
That said, the young people, today is a gift but you have to earn tomorrow!
By Ahmad Moalim
Lawyer,Democrat,Community rights champion and student of contextualized democratic principles