Harambee!

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As I write this I am seated in a boardroom at the Egrove Campus of Oxford University refining a presentation on Africa scenarios… But I simply cannot stop thinking about one of my great loves, a beautiful nation called Kenya.

Following days of unrest caused by the killing of a controversial Mombasa cleric, innocent Kenyans have lost their lives, Churches have been burnt, police have been targeted in disturbing grenade attacks. The government has announced a Commission of Inquiry to look into the killing of the cleric but I cannot stop thinking of all the lives that have been lost in the riots. May they all rest in peace and may justice be delivered both by man and God for these needless killings.

What we are seeing across the continent seems to be growing pains. The Northern states of Africa are still in limbo, struggling to find their social and political terra firma following what the western world described as a Arab Spring, really an Arab Winter. Meanwhile the revolutions of the North have impacted on the stability of other African states like Mali, just reminding us all that the continent is interlinked.

Down South, the government of South African is contending with the aftermath of the recent tragic mines shooting that saw many lives lost. Achieving the balance between the provision of a secure environment and the protection of the rights of the individual is a clearly a delicate balancing act for African governments during these difficult times.

Like the journey of the chosen people to the promised land, Africa is enduring the struggle in the desert. But we must not lose hope. The continent has come so far already. Even just a glance at East Africa and the increased stability in the region shows this journey is well under way… Not delivered by Western powers but by our own people. While Kenyans mocked our armed forces on social media saying they are only good for eating corned beef and biscuits in the barracks, the Kenya Defence Forces have done an exemplary job in Somalia, containing a nation that even the US army retreated from, and the KDF has achieved this with great restraint and humility. The effective partnership between the Somali Transitional Government Forces and thereafter AMISOM to stabilize the Somali nation is another sign of a continent moving forward.

The change is here and the challenge is now for African governments to ensure peaceful and stable environments for growth and development. The purpose of the radical minority is to destabilize, and so governments must ensure they maintain control even as they focus on maintaining support of the majority.

On 28th June 1914 a man called Gavrilo Princip assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia. Some say Princip was a Bosnian revolutionary, others describe him as a Serbian nationalist. Whatever the case may be his action triggered the Word War 1, a vicious war that claimed the lives of 9 million people and wounded 21 million – a war that did nothing to advance the Bosnian and Serbian interests. We must guard against triggers that lead Africa down a path of destruction for all. The newfound democratic space in many African states brings with it increasing responsibility. The people of Africa must seize this opportunity and take responsibility to contribute to the creation of a stable and secure environment.

My fellow Kenyans and Africans, let us resolve to close the door to disorder, violence and chaos… the recipes for disaster. While the growing pains we see today are a natural aspect of resistance to change the onus lies on each of us to ensure we do not lose track of our focus on building a greater nation and continent even as we face these significant challenges. If the majority pull together the minority cannot destroy our dream and our path towards a greater society.

God bless Kenya and God bless Africa as we continue on this journey together. Harambee!

Afro-optimist * Wife * Mother * Child of God TV Host * Writer * Producer * Entrepreneur * Philanthropist

9 Comments on "Harambee!"

  1. job mwaura says:

    A very nice read julie. God bless Kenya our beautiful country.

  2. gbrayo says:

    just seen your blog and i have already book marked it. Love your work

  3. Joe says:

    people need to face the law for their intolerance even as we call for peace and justice. we can not continue to becry the fact that our politicians promote anarchy. they must be brought to book; big or small.

  4. krishu says:

    An article worth reading…especially the final deductions in the conclusions. However, calling Arab spring ‘an Arab winter’ is misleading. The current uprising saw the first democratic elections in Egypt and the overthrow over the corrupt Hosni regime, though more can be achieved to advance civilian democracy. Qaddafi, an individual who unfortunately run his country like his personal business was ruthlessly defeated and democracy is slowly getting roots in Libya. Morocco and Tunisia are strongly emerging as democratic states. Unfortunately for Syrian , Assad will have to kill more innocent civilians but history will judging as that ruthless leader who failed to learn from his neighbors…….secondly “the Kenya Defence Forces have done an exemplary job in Somalia, containing a nation that even the US army retreated from”….while the first part of the statement is true and indeed commendable, it is rather ridiculous to even mention KDF and US Military in one statement when it comes to military operations. The context in which ‘black-hawk’ down occurred is worlds apart from KDFs engagement in Somalia. Considering US interests (then) in Somalia, domestic politics played a larger role in Americas exit. Make no mistake about it, US could have chosen to stay the course and have bigger impact than AMISOM……..and that is a fact.

    Finally Africa’s’ renascence is happening and is truly the continent to watch.as they say while economies in other countries collapse, Africa is growing every other day.

  5. karanja keny says:

    hi. i dig apathy. i accept my own inclinations as every man’s until that man turns agaisnt me. u can choose to see the world as chaos, and it’s, it functions all its part in that darkness apathetic to the human condition. the happenings at the coasts, i would desire to know the entire causal fabric. what happened before what, and so on. there is no promised land, there is just oblivion. argue it if you want. i don’t hold in any gravity foreign recognitions or canned lip works by some of our more or less fortunate brothers and sisters. what happened is a marvel, that must tear the fabric that must arouse some from the dream to existential horror.

    perhaps we are just evolving. why not?

    venture if i might, how can man claim to know his mind if it’s with the same mind he intends to know it with? and how can that self-safe being portend to know the mind of his God. Even if God was a creation of his to impose order to chaos? and by man i include every gender. why don’t we all just get close to those who perished? no insight to be found there, what do the the dead know? and even if they did, do they have stake in the world of the living? just get close, be everyone of those perished, for man lives in everyone, does he not?

    and julie and your ilk, truth does not lie in conclusions or bowed covers, it lies in contradictions and marvels. the finder of truth exists not, and the seeker liveth in quiet desperation.

  6. Susan Kairu says:

    Valid sentiments there Julie :) One thing Kenyans and Africans in general need to appreciate is that we are all in this together. Peace and prosperity in our nations is a matter of joint effort. Progress should be highly prioritized and conflicts only serve to divide us..Lovely piece dear, keep championing for peace.

  7. Andrew says:

    Great article. One of the challenges we have in Kenya today is that our Society has largely embraced a myopic culture. It manifests itself in “personality cultism”, “hand-out culture”, “hedonism”, “selective amnesia”, “repetitive retrogressive behaviors”, “institutionalized conflict of interest”, “victim complex”, “greed” and “impunity – lack of accountability & responsibility”.

    We do the same things over and over again, in the hope that the results will be different. This undermines our capacity to learn from our mistakes and also become innovative when addressing our challenges. Our focus in life is short term and this is the best ingredient for corruption, violence, road accidents et al.

    We judge leaders based on what they have & not how they got what they have. This encourages our society to become intoxicated with greed for a quick buck. It consequently undermines the creation of institutions for posterity.

    We follow leaders (political, religious et al) blindly. Interrogation of leaders is equated to treason yet it is the only way we can keep our leaders responsible and accountable. Because of our failure to interrogate our Leaders even the best of them turn into tyrants.

    The role models of our youth are the same leaders who scorn education, value ill gained wealth and readily disregard the Law in order to hold onto power or make themselves felt.

    Our society is outward focused. We believe that our problems and their solutions are to be found without. In the process we shun personal responsibility and embrace all forms of neo-colonialism. This explains the misuse of our youth by leaders (political, religious et al) through cheap propaganda. It also explains why our society watches gleefully & with indifference as the West humiliates our government, notwithstanding the fact that we are the government. Since government is of the people, by the people and for the people, having been elected by the people from its ranks.

    We must embrace the true meaning of independence as self rule, and take responsibility for the future we want for ourselves. This will only be possible if each Kenyan embraces a culture of responsibility and accountability. As this will ensure we conduct ourselves with civility and maturity, while respecting the rights of others, the integrity of institutions and the value of holding leaders accountable for their acts or omissions

  8. lawrence says:

    Julie, you are an inspirational writer, I love your blog, it is the high time to unite: as kenyans and africans, leaving back our beliefs, nepotism, differences and social classes whatsoever and uphold HARAMBEE and humanity

  9. wangeshi says:

    may God bless kenya and the rest of Africa

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