The Declaration of Conscience
Hello everybody! Thank you so much. Thank you. I want to thank our Nairobi Governor too, Mike Sonko, for all the great work that he is doing, being a governor of Nairobi City County where at least hosting all the 43 tribes of Kenya is not an easy task.
And it is so beautiful to see all the happy and positive young faces in you.
Briefly, may I share with you a significant moment in my life. Not so long ago, I was much privileged to having been one of the amongst other 21 bright and talented youths (from other different countries in the world) out the almost 300 youth in the Kectil Class of 2017, selected to attend a leadership conference in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Unlike home in Kenya, no one there abroad identified with us on the basis of tribal identity and/or ethnicity.
During the one week conference, we also exchanged a lot with other youth from other countries, from South Africa, Pakistan, Guyana, Malawi, Botswana, Nigeria, Brazil, Columbia, Ghana and USA. At the conclusion of the conference therefore, we all came to agreement that each of our respective nations have different obstacles ranging from economic to political to social problems, issues like poverty, unemployment and corruption as the common denominator. Yet as I talk to you here today, fellow Kenyans, as we all know, minus the tribal politics that has always increasingly almost plunged our motherland into a total disarray after every each five years of elections, obviously, due to certain vested selfish interest group, as young man, as your son, as your brother and as your fellow patriot, I am always impressed not by our diversities along ethnic and tribal backgrounds but by the closeness our goals, our desires, our concerns and ultimately, our hope for a better and ever united country and nation, one people. We have no other country but Kenya!
However, the leadership of this great nation is so lacking that it is time we talk about it and put serious proposals in place. Even amongst us here, we all have the national feeling of fear and frustration that will most likely in the future result in a national suicide and disaster when swept under the carpet. If not deliberated upon, our children and even grandchildren will not deal with the effects of these negative divisions but shall deal with their aftermath which shall be a crisis beyond them. It is my hope that no one amongst us here really admires to witness Kenya wallowing in the pollical mess like in South Sudan, Somalia or even Congo. Truly, we never know the value of something until it is taken away from us, in this case, political and economic stability.
Before you here, today, I speak as a youth. I speak as a young responsible lawyer in the city. I speak as a Kenyan.
Too much hatred between communities has already been done, but I speak here today in hope that my words will be taken to heart. I think it is time for we Kenyans to do some soul-searching, for us to weigh our conscience on the manner in which we want to transform this nation for the interest of everyone.
The Kenyan people are sick and tired of being identified by their tribal and ethnic backgrounds. Kenyans must now be very tired when the yardstick of their success in life are measured a tribal weighing scale (or a 100% political loyalty to a certain particular tribe when you are not originally from a tribe in power). As I speak, the Kenyan people are more psychologically divided than ever before in the history of this nation on the basis of tribal indifferences premised upon illusionary and imaginary dangers as against other tribes.
The problem started with our founding fathers who took over the control of this nation from the British people after independence in 1963, instead of uniting we the 43 tribes together, they perpetuated the British evils by even diving the country far apart for selfish gains and political mileages.
But in August 2010, we Kenyans voted for a new constitution, with the majority of its content copied from South Africa. It was a dawn of a new era! Unfortunately, is, those who championed for Kenya’s 2010 new constitution and who voted “Yes” to adopt the new document, are the ones now in the opposition! Raila Odinga and the group. Then, for those who were against the new present and new constitution, and who strongly campaigned and voted “No” no defeat the new document, are the ones now in power! President Uhuruto and the group. What a tragedy!
Kindly, my fellow Kenyans, get me right. To understand the concept I am trying to pull up here, I will want to refer you across the oceans, roughly 8030.13 miles away from here, to the land where was once led by a direct descendant of your very own, a land which so many reputable history books call, “a land of the courageous and brave”, I refer, of course, to the United States of America!
In a letter from the second president of the United States, John Adams, to the officers of the first Brigade of the third Division of the militia of Massachusetts dated October 11, 1798, Adams cautioned the country against hypocrisy – saying one thing and doing another.
But laws he believed, could not prevent this hypocrisy. No law, no constitution could save an immoral people. While the American Founding Fathers believed in the necessary separation of Church and the State, they believed no discussion of morals was possible without an agreed upon philosophy – a philosophy that superseded the logic of men. So Adams Concluded that “Our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people.”
George Washington also said as much halfway through his Farewell Address of 1796. He started: “Of all the depositions and habits which lead to political property, religion and morality are indispensable support,” He added, “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Both Adams and Washington were appealing to morality that was eternal – beyond the customs of man. A morality that didn’t shift on convention.
James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, believed that the governed were obliged to control themselves. Furthermore, it was the responsibility of a virtuous people to select people that would reflect that ideal. Leaders that would be capable by virtue of their own character, to adapt these eternal morals that Adams often spoke of, to particular circumstances. Madison said:
“But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks – no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.
It is with this great concern in mind and thoughts that I have come up with what I refer to as a “Declaration of Conscience.
1. We are come from different ethnic backgrounds. But foremost and paramount, we are Kenyans first, It is as Kenyans that we express our concern with the growing division that threatens to tear our country apart.
2. Our Founding Fathers had initially set us into this mess of ethnic hatred and tribalism. We cannot run away from it, we will not run away from it. It is our own responsibility and duty to sort the mess up by learning to accommodate each other irrespective of ethnic backgrounds.
3. No particular tribe can be single handedly charged with this mess. History is clear with facts. Let us shun away selfish political exploitation, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance. There are enough mistakes open to constructive criticisms without resorting to tribal cocoons and political smearing.
4. It is high time that we stopped thinking tribally and politically as Kenyans about every elections and start thinking patriotically as Kenyans about our collective national interest to create an environment fertile enough for individual and personal development amongst us all.
5. Let us learn to make elections a happy event where people shake hands after the contest.
In the progress our nation would like to witness, for a better future country, let us adopt the laid above “irreducible minimums” in the realization of, and our “Declaration of Conscience” in line with morality and true virtues!
Thank you very much, everybody.