Democracy is a right for all citizens of a particular country. Democracy is accompanied by fundamental rights and freedom and the duties of a citizen, among them voting. Many citizens around the world live on the hope that their elected leaders will help in solving some of the major challenges they encounter. Kenya is just about to undertake another competitive general election in the next six months.

Every citizen has a different view of what their current leaders have achieved and where they have failed. Since the 2013 general elections, the Kenyan government embarked on restoring its foreign relationships with other countries, in Africa and abroad. This was also accompanied by major infrastructural projects like the Standard Gauge Railway. With mixed reactions on whether the project met the expectations of Kenyans, allegations that corruption stood high in the whole project or not; that many ordinary Kenyans may not be the main issue they think of every day, since they may have heard corruption scandals since they were born. As a Kenyan citizen and a journalist, I have had the privilege of traveling far and wide in Kenya. In one of my many voyages, we were discussing why the political system has failed to meet the needs of ordinary Kenyans.

After careful meditation, I have reasons to believe that Kenyans can have a better life that one can say he or she is proud of. Leaders are in way catalysts to this imaginary state, invoked by citizens’ hard work and determination. Here is the concept:  As an ordinary Kenyan, I may have gone to school, but unfortunately when we talk about our economy growing, I may not measure it with the business and economic standards. For me, for as long as the price of sugar, milk, soap, clothes and other basic needs keep going up every day, the economy is doing badly.

Most villages have poor road networks that adversely affect their movement, especially during rainy seasons. Photo: Sol Salute

For as long as the school fees for my children keep rising every day, the economy is pinching my back. For as long as I and a good number of my age mates are unable to find gainful employment, the economy does not include us. The point here is however much we look at the economy from a global standard perspective, it is also important to look at it from a citizens’ perspective. Combining the two would assure an economy that people say is friendly to them.

Citizens need four major resources at an affordable cost or even free for specific cases; clean supply of water, access to energy and power supply, good and extensive road network and access to affordable medical services. Thinking about these four resources, if a government can provide them to its people at an affordable cost, then Kenyans in their ordinary life would feel that the economy is growing. These are the four main things that some of the Kenyan citizens have never seen since independence.

A farmer inspects fruits on a farm. Photo: Giz

I believe that this is something that can be handled by a government, with determination and sacrifice. Those who are familiar with the story of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi will understand why I envied Libya a few years ago. Here comes a question to us: Is it impossible for Kenya to achieve the accessibility of those four key resources? Sacrifice in personal life has made many people achieve many things. This same sacrifice is much needed for a country’s relationship to experience tremendous improvement that can be honestly applauded by citizens. For as long as an old man cannot be treated in a hospital somewhere in Kenya because he or she does not have money, there exist a good number of missed priorities.

For as long as there are cases of corruption in Kenya, someone somewhere in a leadership position forgot the vocabulary ‘sacrifice’ as soon as his or her  ‘sacrifice’ elevated him to the pot that never runs dry. Even as we go to the 2017 general election, this is a challenge to all leaders. Work towards providing a clean supply of water, access to energy and power supply, good and extensive road network and access to affordable medical services to the people. This is when Kenya badly needs leaders who consider their jobs not only as a profession but as a calling. That is when we will be able to prosecute corrupt leaders, but remember, for an ordinary Kenyan like me, any prosecution does not make sense until all our stolen money and resources are fully recovered. This is the time when I say we need a ‘Messiah’ to change the trajectory of where this country is moving.

Most families and individuals have in the recent past faced difficult moments financially.

I am very proud of the various achievements Kenya has had, but I will be more happy to see that villages are lit up, that sub-locations have free- service dispensaries, that schools where students learn under a tree have new classes, that men or women who run up and down for the whole day trying to merchandise something on the streets having a permanent place to do so. It is what we want. I urge all Kenyans not to vote names, but practical visionary leaders. If you ever participated in your primary and secondary schools’ debate, sometimes, the best team never won, the best idea came last, the moral side of the debate had least applauds, so take an initiative to vet your leaders and have someone who can help the country, the counties, the constituencies, and the wards grow. It might not be an easy thing.

For me in my village, the KES 100 is enough to persuade me to vote for someone, but what next after the KES 100? In our education system, someone somewhere maybe in different words has ever mentioned to you that you should never follow mob justice psychology in your decisions. If it is a mob justice psychology decision, then let it originate from a personal psychology decision. I would love to see seat belts strict laws back in action; a visionary leader that initiated it is no more. This means we have good leaders among us. We need wisdom from above to choose leaders who can give Kenyans a clean supply of water, access to energy and power supply, good and extensive road network and access to affordable medical services.


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