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From the Editor’s Desk….

Take a stand against violence on Saba Saba Day,7th July,2014,and have yourself a nice weekend!

By sheer coincidence, I will arrive in Kenya the day after Saba Saba after a month-long tour of duty.

I hope I will still find my country intact because of you, fellow
citizens. Stand up for peace.

I am counting on you!

I do not know what the future may hold for Kenya but I know who holds the future.

It is in the hands of ordinary Kenyan citizens,not the bickering politicians.

That loosely paraphrased line borrowed from American civil rights icon, Ralph Abernathy, is an apt reminder of the power of ordinary citizens in shaping the destiny of their nations at critical moments in history.

We are at such a moment in the young life of our nation.

Let’s put these political vultures away in cold cells in Europe before they put you and me in a cold room in a morgue.

In just a matter of weeks, we have watched our politicians turn “dialogue” into a dirty word.

We have heard it used in the same sentence with words and phrases like “constituent assembly”,“revolution”, “Southern Sudan”, and other reckless utterances that sound like a prelude to unspeakable crimes against humanity.

It is time for ordinary citizens to take back our country from the politicians.

There are several things you can do as an ordinary citizen to chart a
new course for our country.

First, take a stand against violence on Saba Saba Day.

Attend the rally,but disdain any calls to violence by your favourite politician.

You must refuse to be used by politicians to cause chaos or terrorise your fellow citizens under
any circumstances.

Kenya is still fragile and ethnically polarised and can quickly ignite into an inferno of ethnic violence that consumes us all.

Second, regarding that severely abused word,“dialogue”, let us find a middle ground.

We know that the Jubilee government was planning The
National Rebirth Conference before Cord showed up with their demand for dialogue.

That means both sides see some value in having a national forum to examine our challenges and
opportunities.

I suggest that in the face of the current grandstanding and politicisation of such a process,
we should instead create an alliance of citizens to organise such a conference.

Such stakeholders could include Kenyans in the Diaspora, religious leaders, councils of elders, civil
society and private sector organisations.

Our politicians would come in as invited guests and not as the main drivers of the process.

Such a national conference can become an annual event but must never be used to usurp the
functions of other constitutionally established institutions.

UNBRIDLED CORRUPTION

The third thing you can do as a citizen in this season of acrimony is to be a vigilant witness to all political events around you.

Record all speeches and activities that may lead to violence and crimes
against humanity and put it all online.

The International Criminal Court is still open for business.

Fourth, as ordinary citizens, you must be involved in defining and solving the real challenges facing
Kenya today.

Our politicians have defined those
challenges as insecurity, youth unemployment, and devolution, among others.

I have a feeling that those are the symptoms of a much bigger problem
that include corruption, negative ethnicity and lack of national values.

For example, we have adopted a Constitution that is miles ahead of our values and political culture.

Our politics still revolves around individuals instead of institutions and ideologies.

That is why it is possible for an individual to ignore the laid-down institutions and hold an entire
country hostage.

We need to embrace new values
that cherish constitutionalism and the rule of law if we want to survive as a nation.

Similarly, our national conversation must address the issues of negative ethnicity as well as corruption as possibly the two biggest threats to
our nationhood.

How can you talk about allocating
more money to devolution before addressing the unbridled corruption that has found a home in county governments?

When we talk of ways we can address these national challenges, we often look to the government for solutions.

Let us, instead, have a national conversation that places citizens at the centre of identifying and
resolving these issues.

This, in my opinion, is what will lead to the true rebirth of our country and produce the kind of nation anticipated in the new constitutional
dispensation.

Let us take our country back from the politicians.

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

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