29 Nov Statement on the State of the Nation
Two weeks ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared that the “State of our Nation is STRONG, RESILIENT and BRIMMING WITH THE PROMISE OF AN EVEN BRIGHTER TOMORROW.” Many Kenyans wondered what country the president was talking about. It sounded like a fairy tale story only his McKinsey speechwriters could come up with. A presidency that cannot aptly capture the State of the Nation is a failed one.
Kongamano La Mageuzi, a united front of progressive individuals, political parties and organizations, is here in Mathare today to offer its Vitu Kwa Ground statement. We want to focus on the issues we, citizens of Kenya care about, that is, Healthcare, Education and the Economy. We are here to rally WaKenya to come and work together to salvage our beloved country. Ours is a call for a genuine and frank conversation on the real State of the Nation. This conversation must begin with an admission that our Nation is sick. It is not “brimming with the promise of an even brighter tomorrow.” It is a nation who’s national political leadership has set us on a path to self-destruction. We must change this and save our country.
We are a mourning Nation, grappling with the avoidable deaths of thousands of our compatriots from a pandemic the administration has failed to handle. Frontline health workers have been pushed to senseless martyrdom, while COVID-19 billionaires roam the streets with impunity. With the strike notice issued by our doctors, Kenyans find themselves in an incredibly difficult situation.
The doctors are within their rights to demand better working conditions. However, their withdrawal from hospitals would mean grimmer times for all Kenyans. Health facilities across the country and especially in the informal settlements are already struggling with inadequate healthcare workers and facilities. A strike in the middle of a pandemic is not ideal, but necessary given the insensitivity of the Jubilee administration to the legitimate demands of our healthcare workers. We stand in solidarity with our doctors, nurses and clinical workers and commend them for their sacrifice and service.
Our education sector is in peril. The autocratic management at the Ministry of Education has led to high levels of fear among teachers, parents and students. KLM is aware of a massive cover-up of the COVID-19 situation in our schools, with the complicity of the compromised Teacher’s Unions and senior officials at the Ministry of Education. This cover-up will only lead to more deaths of our children and teachers and must stop immediately. COVID-19 is a pandemic and nobody should be blamed for contracting it. The stigmatization must end. Neither should anyone be put at risk of contracting it. Our schools are ill equipped to ensure the safety of our teachers and children.
KNUT and KUPPET should honor the memory of their members who have paid the ultimate price in service to our country. They should not hide their names. We pay tribute to all our teachers and educators and celebrate their selflessness to serve amidst these hard times. KLM will strive to bring back sanity and dignity to the national education sector. We shall end the corruption and control of the sector by cartels enabled by unpatriotic officials in the Ministry of Education. The betrayal and robbery rampant in the education sector must be stopped.
The pandemic is widening the gap between the haves and have-nots. Millions of children who have no access to internet or gadgets have been left stranded. The effects of COVID-19 on our children, especially girls cannot be overstated.
It is urgent that the Ministry of Education embarks on consultations with parents, teachers and other stakeholders on a well thought-out school-reopening plan. This plan must balance between the safety of our children and teachers and the long-term implications of school closures. The costs associated with the preventive measures must be paid for by the state, not parents. This is possible if we stop spending money on private political projects such as the BBI referendum.
On 25 November, the Nation watched in horror as President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga held, yet again, another BBI-related event in the midst of a pandemic. In their statements, they did not speak about the millions who have lost their jobs, the unpaid hospital bills and rents and the hospitals filling up with COVID-19 patients. They could not, simply because they are out of touch with reality. In their lavish lives, they cannot relate to the struggling Kenyans who are barely surviving. Or the thousands of unemployed youths reduced to the theatrics of wheelbarrows and tokenistic Kazi Mtaani while their future is squandered.
Despite concerns about Kenya defaulting on its now seven trillion debt, the shameless borrowing continues. Misplaced priorities have seen billions of shillings spent on illegitimate processes like the BBI and the opaque Huduma number. Yet social security interventions in the midst of a pandemic have been ignored. How insensitive can people’s representatives be that they demand for emergency helicopters to hospitals when their constituents are facing death each day? Not even NHIF will cover us at the time we need it the most. Which government increases taxes on its people in the midst of an economic crisis, while it plunders public funds?
Kongamano La Mageuzi calls for an urgent conversation on the state of the nation. This is not the time for polemics on a Moses delivering Kenyans to Canaan. It is a time to reflect on our priorities as a country. It is a time to re-evaluate what we need to do to avert an even deeper healthcare, economic and education crisis.
This is not the time to be spending fourteen billion shillings to weaken our constitution, entrench an imperial presidency and burden Mwananchi by increasing the public wage bill. It is the time to stop spending money we do not have, on a referendum we do not need.
To this end, KLM will hold its 1st National Kongamano on 12 December 2020 with participants representing the diversity of Kenya’s counties and interest groups, to deliberate on the State of Kenya and unveil the KLM national agenda and programme for political and economic transformation and freedom with and for all Kenyans. Participants will also consider and approve the KLM coalition and movement structure and elect a leadership to drive the movement’s political agenda for change.
It is time for a different DNA to Kenya’s governance and political leadership. KLM is here and ready to lead that transformation.
29 November 2020