May Peace and Togetherness Prevail as Kenya Decides.
Can you believe that as you read this article (if you are reading it today, 3rd March, 2013), 62 days are gone? It’s hard to believe two are down and we are already on the third month of 2013. As I always say, I’m grateful to the Almighty God for giving me another chance to see a new day, a new week and in this case, a new month. It is an opportunity for you and I to create a new thing in our lives; another opportunity to scale new heights; another opportunity to think and act different; and best of all, a new opportunity to start afresh and do things right if we had not done so before, or better if we had.
For Kenya, Kenyans and stakeholders of Kenya, this is more than a new month. It is a time of complete change, a time when the country is being tested to see whether she has come of age. A time when the whole world focuses on this small East African country, as it holds elections tomorrow for the first time under their new constitution. In short, this month of March marks a time when Kenya Decides to either forget the past and start afresh on a clean slate, or get stuck in the past, creating a platform for another political quagmire like the one that led to the post election violence that erupted in 2008. However, I have reason to believe that she will not allow the latter to happen.
If you have been following what has been happening there lately, you will know that there has been a lot of peace campaigns going on. Different groups/organizations have been partnering or coming together with one common goal of promoting peace in the country. Lots of resources like money and time have been spent by these groups to ensure that the gospel of peace is preached to every single person in the country, by using road-shows, peace concerts, peace rallies, inter-denominational prayers for the country and of course not forgetting social media. People have literally been moving from one town to another, one county to another, preaching the gospel of peace. Artists and media houses decided to put their pride and egos aside in order to come together for this important course.
The togetherness that has been displayed by these groups during this time has been amazing. They have been able to pull off events that have never been heard of before in the region, e.g. the Presidential and Deputy-Presidents’ Debates. For the first time, voters were able to see for themselves how their preferred candidates behaved under pressure; they were able to see how well versed they were with issues that are of importance to the citizens. If the feedback given on social media during and after the debates was anything to go by, then I believe the media houses that came together to organize these debates should give themselves a part on the back for a job well done. Not only Kenyans but also neighboring countries appreciated this step, if I can site some of the tweets I was seeing coming from the East African Tweeps as my basis for this judgment. I will therefore not be surprised if we start seeing similar exercises happening throughout the region in the very near future.
Now, I will forgive you if by now you are thinking I’ve turned all political on you today. However, I needed to do this for you to understand my thought process as I now deliver my message. Just to clarify, I hate politics of any kind and half the time I wonder why anyone would want to sacrifice their sanity to be in politics. Anyway, like someone once told me, we all can’t be comedians; otherwise who would laugh at our jokes? Speaking of comedians, during the presidential debates, did you see the upcoming comedian/presidential candidate from Kenya by the name of Abduba Dida? If this man was to become a president, I guess Kenyans would be laughing all the time. Can you imagine him holding a press conference and the stuff he would be telling people? Anyway, I am sorry, for digressing as usual.
When people make a decision to come together, to work together, to achieve a common goal together, then nothing and no one can stop them. Yes, there might be many obstacles on the way to achieving their goals, but they never get swayed because they not only have confidence in their ability to work together, but they trust and believe in each other. The various groups that came together to preach peace throughout the country have clearly demonstrated this. Besides the peace campaigns, the fact that ALL TV and Radio stations in Kenya decided to put their normal programing on hold for several hours on the two days the Presidential Debates were held in the country is something to emulate. No wonder the success rate was so high. Kudos to all who made this happen; personally, I’ve learnt a great lesson from them.
Whoever said these words, “if you want to go fast then walk alone, but if you want to go far then be part of a team” was spot on! I don’t know what he or she had gone through but there is great wisdom in those words. It’s like the body; can the leg tell the eye that it (the leg) is more important because it helps the body move? What would the eye tell the leg then, that it is more important because it sees where the legs are going? The truth is, each one of these body parts is important in its on way, but none of them can function properly without the other parts of the body. In extreme cases they could, but not in an optimum way.
Similarly, in life, we need each other. You could be the eye, I could be the feet, someone else could be the brain, another one the heart, etc. However, none of us can function right unless each one of us plays the role we are supposed to play. Think of any area in your life; whether it’s at home, at the office, in church, etc. You name it, no man is an island. Like displayed by the Kenyan media, we can each go a long way, if we agreed to help each other to achieve a common goal. Can you imagine how expensive it would have been for one media house to try and host a debate like that, and ensure it was aired on all TV and Radio stations at the same time? How much money do you think they would have paid for the air-time, leave alone the promotions that were done?
In conclusion, togetherness and teamwork are great virtues to cultivate in every areas of our lives. They create room for responsibility and accountability in our lives because when you are a team member, you know fully well you will be held responsible and accountable for everything you do, whether it is good or bad. Unfortunately, many are selfish and choose to follow the outdated adage that says “everyone for themselves and God for us all”. This explains why there’s so much envy, greed and corruption in the world today.
As we start a new week and by extension a new month, I challenge you to be a team player and see how far you will go once you have other people focusing on the same vision and goal you have. Try it in every area of your life and see what gives.
My final word will be to Kenyans: as you go to the polls tomorrow, please remember to maintain peace. In Kiswahili I will say this, “Piga kura, sio mtu”, in other words, let your vote be your weapon to choose the leaders you want.
May peace prevail in this region.
PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 3rd of March, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"