It was vintage Raila.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga gave an electrifying speech to Kenyans in Minneapolis, Minnesota yesterday.
The PM addressed a number of issues that I am separately reporting in a blog to follow but if there is one major news from the PM’s speech, it is that Raila basically enunciated his new vision for Kenya: Let’s not reinvent the wheel; the vision for a true Kenya is right there in our national anthem!
In responding to a young Kenyan who spoke in behalf of young Kenyans in a Diaspora who, in his brief speech, asked the Prime Minister what he, and by extension, the government would do to bring the American Dream to Kenya, Raila first noted his appreciation and understanding of the young man’s thinking and concerns but at the same time the PM advised the young man, and through him, all Kenyans that Kenya does not need the American Dream; we have our own found in the first stanza of our national anthem:
O God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.
The PM paradoxically pointed out something I believe has hitherto been obvious but hidden until Raila articulated for the first time ever that all the dreams we can have for our country are essentially enshrined right there in this very stanza and these are:
- A united, peaceful Kenya with no tribalism or negative ethnicity or discrimination based on any other characteristics;
- A country where justice flows like a river;
- A country with plenty of everything we need and necessary for our prosperity and welfare;
- A realization and actualization of the fact that the plenty we must have will not drop upon us like manna from heaven, rather, it must and shall only be obtained through not just the labor of our hands, but also through our creativity, intellect, resolve and determination guided by a responsive and responsible government.
I am certain the young man who posed the question has never thought of the full extent of the stanza and neither have most Kenyans.
Sometimes, it takes the obvious to point out the obvious and Raila has done just that and I believe this re-defines who he is and in essence, why he must be our next president.
Not too long ago, a reader of one of my blogs asked the question, what is my ideology and without even taking a moment to think about it, I rattled out the following:
- I believe in the sovereignty of the people through their democratically elected leaders and institutions.
- I believe elected leaders are to serve the people and cater for their interests first and foremost.
- I believe that elected officials cannot and must not be allowed to use public office as a means to enrich themselves
- I believe the government exists solely for the purpose of ensuring its citizenry has the basics essential for sustenance of their lives at a standard well above the poverty lines as well as to provide for its safety and general welfare.
- I believe as a means of providing for its people, the government has the obligation to ensure natural resources are economically and responsibly exploited for the benefit of its citizenry through a distributive process that is fair and equitable for all via taxation and spending policy that ensures equal and equitable taxation and expenditure
- I believe the government has an equal obligation to promote private enterprise and entrepreneurship through tax incentives
- I believe in the rule of law and strengthening of our judicial system to allow for fair and just redress of grievances.
- I believe in a strong presidency with reasonable checks and balances. I do not wish to see a clawless lion at State House.
- I believe in gender equality
- I believe in a one Kenya where tribe and ethnicity has no value other than matters strictly cultural
In that blog, I said,
“There you have it my friend. This is what motivates me to do what I do as I truly hope we shall see all this come to pass in the not too distant future, certainly after the 2012 elections.
What Raila is saying is all these ideals and more are already spoken for in our own Kenyan dream as envisioned in our national anthem.
Raila is also saying we have simply been unable to put them into play largely because those charged with the responsibility to do so have failed, including ourselves in some cases.
Now is the time to elect a president who can finally implement this vision
Now is the time to elect a president who knows and fully understands what that vision is and how to bring it to life.
In a nutshell, no one knows this vision better; no one understands this vision better; no one can implement this vision better than the man who has sounded the bell that we have been off track for decades because of our inability to really understand the true meaning of the dream envisioned in our national anthem.
And that man is Raila.
The country will make a serious mistake in not coming to this conclusion come 2012 and failure to do so would leave us short of realizing this dream Raila has articulated as no other candidate vying for the presidency I can see has what it would take to actualize the dream fully.
Indeed, none of the candidates has even as bothered to tell us what they stand for other than defeating Raila and listing of the ills the country has faced or faces is not a dream or vision.
There will be others to lay claim of their ability to deliver as much of the dream as Raila as well but in my view, these will be nothing but Johnny come latilies.