Friday, August 27, 2010



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

August 24, 2010

Your Excellency Mr. President and the Right Hon Prime Minister,

I greet you in the name of the new Republic. I must admit the journey to this day has been a long one for all of us; a good 43 years since we started fighting for the Second Republic. Our journey has been longer than that of the children of Israel. After all they only spent 40 years in the wilderness.

I know today is a busy one for you considering that you have dignitaries from all over the world that have come to celebrate with us the rebirth of our nation. The crowd at Uhuru Park; complete with those spectacular military displays tell it all. It is a day that only a few people living today will compare with the same event on December 12 1963 when we hoisted the Kenyan flag and sang our national anthem.

However, I would like to caution you that the crowd you see at Uhuru Park is a different one from the 1963 multitude that cheered Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga. That crowd was small because Kenya’s population was hardly 6 million most of whom were still trapped in poverty in their villages.

Another thing; at that time, few Kenyans had gone to school; in fact very few had degrees to talk about. The most learned people that caught villagers’ attention were primary school teachers, nurses, askari kanga, and colonial chiefs. Others were veterinary clinical officers whose main job was to vaccinate village dogs against rabies and domestic animals against foot and mouth disease.

In those days, there were hardly any forms of civilization except for missionary centres that specialized in civilizing us. They were the bona fide owners of mission schools and clinics that formed part of their calling. In those centers were found teachers, lay priests and early adopters of their ways of life.

At independence towns like Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kericho were a spectacle to be hold. They were spotlessly clean. The traffic flow for the few vehicles was excellent. Passenger buses and trains kept their schedules and picked their passengers on time. It was a pleasure to travel by train all over East Africa then.

All that bliss has since changed your Excellencies. 47 years is a long time to expect things to remain the same.

Now the wish list Kenyans have prepared for you is a long and frightening one. Their hopes have gone through the roof. The new breed that has come to cheer you at Uhuru Park is a different kettle of fish. They are young, educated and technologically savvy. They know their rights and are more demanding. They want to see real change from the past in real time. They will not listen to the same promises of fighting poverty, ignorance and disease Kenyatta promised his crowd five decades ago. They are no longer the ignorant lot but they are still steeped in abject poverty and dying of the same old diseases.

The Uhuru Park crowd you are seeing there want you to urgently deal with tribalism, nepotism, poverty and corruption. They want to know that they are entitled to settle and live anywhere in the Second Republic. They want true access to land anywhere in Kenya at affordable rates.

They want to be assured that they will be entitled to three meals a day, safety from crime, Medicare in any hospital and that none of them will be denied treatment on account of their poverty. They want to be guaranteed job opportunities so that they can bring up their families as civilized human beings.

They want to know that under the new Republic, there will be no land clashes, ethnic violence or IDPs within our borders.

The slum dwellers you are seeing at Uhuru Park are all from Mathare, Korogocho, Kangemi and Kibera. They have all been born in abject poverty. Some of them are aware that your government has been upgrading their neighborhoods. However, they hope that the Second Republic will not be as slow paced as has been in the past. They will expect decent housing, clean water, electricity and garbage collection in their neighborhoods as soon as possible. They will expect tarmac roads in their estates. Mind you; their rural cousins will expect the same too.

This new generation is an impatient one. It is tired of politics of business as usual. They want to see corrupt people in jail rather than in Parliament. They want to see clean politics; not politics of cash handouts. They want to see public servants behaving like true servants of the people rather than their lords. They want to see land grabbers of yesteryears arraigned in courts, charged and jailed for theft of public and private lands. They want to see Anglo Leasing, Golden Berg and other thieves tried and convicted of economic against innocent Kenyans who have suffered for their sins.

They want to see perpetrators of 2008 mayhem charged in court and murderers of Pinto, Mboya, Kariuki and Ouko brought to justice. They want to see justice on this land.

Finally your Excellencies, they want to see MPs paying their taxes, police killings stopped and corrupt judges sent home post haste.

Thank you your Excellencies.