In 2001, I drafted a document I simply called the Millennium Vision.
At the time I drafted the document, I had not paid any particular attention to any candidate then vying for the presidency at home in the elections which were about to then get in gear for the 2002 election circle.
Each of the top 3 subheadings of the document had the word “Healing” thus, A. Healing the Nation (Social/Cultural); B. Healing the Nation (Economic) and C. Healing the Nation (Political). These were followed by five other subheadings without the word “healing.”
I drafted the document purely as an expression of my thoughts on what I thought was important for any presidential candidate to focus on.
Again, I had not decided on who to support for president and neither had I even discussed with any of my family or friends what their views were about the elections.
Shortly after drafting this document, however, a friend of mine and I started talking about the 2002 elections and in short order, we both decided that, looking at the landscape, Nyachae was the person ideally placed to succeed Moi and that therefore we should support his candidacy.
For those who follow my blogs, you’ll know back then I was as anti-Raila as one could be starting from when Raila decided to merge NDP with KANU in 1997, which I thought was a total betrayal of his reformist credentials and especially given he was going to bed with the same man who had detained him over and over.
I will, of course, later understand why the man did what he had to but not in any of my political science books lining my bookshelf.
Be as it were, when I examined the candidates vying in 2002, I easily concluded Nyachae was the man, not necessarily because he was Kisii as I am but simply because of his mile long resume as an effective administrator, businessman and politician unlike what any of the other candidates had.
In fact, not even the fact that my friend, a professor at that time and to this day, was already good friends with Nyachae and was on board as one of his advisors had me tilting towards Nyachae but all that changed when I met face to face with the man himself and was convinced thereafter that he was, indeed, the man.
Soon after meeting with Nyachae in Washington, DC, my friend and I embarked on the journey to get Nyachae elected with I primarily focusing on Diaspora resources and my friend and others concerned with activities on the ground.
I remember the event we announced his candidacy at the then Safari Bar and Restaurant very well because it put a very big dent in my pocket, having footed the whole bill for the event when everyone assumed it was deep-pocketed Nyachae who footed it.
Not a penny and there was not even a discussion of him doing so at any time; sometimes we do things for the love of our country and causes we believe in but I fully understand why it’s difficult for people to believe that to be the case.
Anyway, fast forward to end of that year, Raila said “Kibaki Tosha” and the rest is history.
I recall the 2002 elections and the documents I reference above now because, several of the individuals who were initially involved in the Nyachae campaign and some even to the end as I was and I do not now see eye to eye when it comes to who should next lead our country.
Indeed, what I find interesting, is not one of them is supporting any conventional candidates as I can tell; rather, they are either mum as to who they are supporting or, if they have indicated anything, they are leaning in the direction of the so-called G47 or Third Force.
What I also find rather very interesting is, I have no idea who these individuals supported in 2007 and have tried but cannot even recall having any one of them associated with ODM during that period; they might and could have as well been die-hard ODM but I just don’t recall even running into any of them during the campaign either in these fora or on the ground but that’s neither here or there.
It is, as I say, very interesting that 10 years ago, we were pretty much on one side of the political divide, but now quite the opposite.
Nothing wrong with it; I just find it that interesting and of note.
The question I ask is, who changed? Did I change? Did they change?
My suspicion is they would claim they have changed with the evolving political winds but sometimes, one must be circumspect not to be overly presumptive as to what change entails.
I have heard of the refrain all current politicians are corrupt or inept and therefore unfit to be elected president.
This, of course, is in my view and pragmatically looking at things, sweeping with too broad a brush.
Yes, there are those in current leadership who are corrupt or inept or both but so, too, do we have a number who are neither but are quite the opposite in terms of being clean and are otherwise in every measure able and effective leaders ideal for election as president.
I associate with the latter, but not the former.
Back to the Millennium Vision document I reference above, I have actually never seen it since 2002; not even before or during the 2007 elections when I was this time actively campaigning for Raila.
When I saw the subheadings of this document earlier today, I was prompted to try and think why I would have had the subheadings so prominently focused on “healing” and remembered with little juggling of my memory that, in 2001, our country had sunk to the lowest levels any can sink and I therefore felt as though we were actually very ill as a country and needed healing.
Little did I know PEV was in the making and would explode in 2008, requiring healing as it now does in the true sense of that word!
It’s truly thought provoking when I look at this document and think, there I was in 2001 thinking about healing our nation of things that now pale in comparison to the near genocide we experienced in 2008.
While pondering these thoughts prompted by revisiting this document, I saw another related document I drafted at about the same time with the aforementioned friend who worked with me in initially setting up the Nyachae operations in the Diaspora in 2001.
This is actually a document we posted as a welcome or home page on a site that was designed to be a vehicle of communication and information sharing for Nyachae and the Diaspora but for reasons that are not relevant now, never became publicly operative.
The document essentially summed up why Nyachae was running for president and why he should be elected president.
Reading through the document, however, it’s hard to believe it was written more than 10 years ago.
Almost word by word, the document has the same sense and purpose in meaning and even more urgently applicable today than it did more than 10 years ago when it was drafted and this is really the point of my blog:
I completely agree with Raila and his new vision that we need not reinvent the wheel; the vision for our country is right there in the ideals expressed in our national Anthem!
I know we have sung the national Anthem a million times but do we really take in all of what these words mean?
Is everything we can dream of as Kenyans not prayed for and included in our national Anthem?
Are the ideals and aspirations espoused in our national Anthem not all the vision and dream we can have for our country?
Let’s revisit these greatly inspiring words:
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.
Let one and all arise
With hearts both strong and true
Service be our earnest endeavour
And our homeland of Kenya
Heritage of splendour
Firm may we stand to defend.
Let all with one accord
In common bond united
Build this our nation together
And the glory of Kenya
The fruit of our labour
Fill every heart with thanksgiving.
In composing the national Anthem, “it was expected that the lyrics would express the deepest convictions and the highest aspirations of the people as a whole.”
“Considering that words can either unite or divide, great care had to be taken to ensure that the Anthem was an indisputable unifying factor in the life of the nation.”
When the commission of five rendered their final version, “what came out was a national song where the people of Kenya sought special prayers and blessings from God, the creator of this universe to protect the land of Kenya from any foreign attack.”
“The song emphasizes unity, peace and liberty not only within the country but also with the neighboring countries.”
When I look at the Millennium Vision document, I see nothing but a reflection of these words.
When I see the welcoming document, I see nothing but a promise to fulfill these words.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel; the founders of our nation had this figured out in this unifying document, which identifies and ropes us together as a people of one nation we call Kenya.
We have recently promulgated a new Constitution setting forth the liberty we have sought for decades in having a government that is responsive to the needs of the people not a blot of itself.
The blue print for the necessary reforms is enshrined within the document.
Right now, given where we have reached in our country’s history, what we need are three basic things prayed for in our national Anthem: Unity, Peace and Plenty to live on.
Fulfilling the rest of our convictions and highest aspirations will simply flow from having these basic 3 aspirations met.
The missing link, is a transformative leader who understands this and is capable of getting us there.
This is what I hear Raila saying as his vision.
I see none better and neither does one really exist.
Peace, Love and Unity