#Africa: Unity Can Heal our Problems – Alex Njeru


Kenya’s politics is always in a state of flux, we seem to think about politics every other time. If it is not the elections we are thinking about, it is the referendum. What will happen when the president goes to Hague to face trials at the International Criminal Court? What will the former prime minister do? Does he retire from politics or shall he re-invent himself, who is going to succeed Uhuru? Will Uhuru and Ruto fall out? Is Kalonzo relevant in Kenya’s politics?

We are always obsessing about something inherently political that the beauty of life passes us by. We seem not to realize that we can improve our own lot, that we can make our lives better, through; had work, persistence and ingenuity. We forget to pay attention to daily chores that are at the core of human existence.

Sad as it is, our politicians run our lives. They are like pied pipers with their magic flutes. They are demi-gods and we the minions, swaying at their every word, baying at their political enemies when they tell us to, placing our lives on the line if they require us to do so. Rather than politics being at the periphery of Kenyan society it is served on every menu.

Meanwhile as we mull on our politicians’ next move, a Kenyan in Turkana is sleeping hungry, not because the country lacks sufficient food stocks but because there aren’t roads worth of note to transport food from areas with food production gluts like Uasin Gishu to Turkana.

As we mull over our politics, raiders from the Merille tribe of Ethiopia massacre pastoralists in Moyale. The Kenya security forces go on a fruitless community disarmament programmes that make the situation even worse. The range of goods that are VAT exempt has been reduced leading to runaway inflation, pushing the cost of living to the roof.

As we obsess on the next moves by our political masters we pay to little attention to the issues that are supposed to the real issues that can improve our lot. We forget to tender to our crops, they get strangled by weeds and produce poorly. We forget to tender our cattle or cast our nets in wait for fish. We give hatred, discord and disunity a home in our hearts, we forget we are real people, with real problems, we forget to do something about our poverty. We forget to dig the water well that would satiate our thirst and that of our animals as well. We expend energy hating on each, we forget that the divisions amongst us are artificial, we forget that if poverty afflicts us, it afflicts us en masse regardless of ethnic group, political affiliation religion.

We in Africa talk and allude to our brotherliness and neighbourliness, do we practice it? In Somalia clans come up against one another, in Sudan races come up against one another, in Nigeria religion is at the heart of divisions amongst people, in Kenya ethnicity and tribalism has comely sad to accepted as part of Kenyan life. Yet all the above nations suffer from mass poverty and afflictions. Imagine what range of problems that we could solve if all of us worked together? Imagine if we ushered in a new dawn with synergy of purpose amongst us?

Can we not halt desertification by planting trees from all the corners of our continent? Can we not clean our politics and beget a leadership worth of aspirations? Can we not purge ourselves of the rot that is corruption?

The mythical magic bullet that Africa seeks as a panacea of all her problems is in the unity of her people.

Njeru offers a rallying call to Africa