Madaraka Day, celebrated every June 1, is a time when Kenyans reflect on the country’s progress after gaining internal self-rule from the colonial masters.
We are at liberty to take charge of our affairs. Following the era of inhuman treatment, racial segregation and brutality, we emerged as a nation state under the leadership of fellow “men”.
But leadership is all about service. Ability to create systems, to re-energise processes in spheres of life to benefit the people is the core value and principle of Madaraka. Let us celebrate those who were devoted to making this country a land of promise and opportunities, to help people lift their standards of living.
History fondly remembers people like First President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the founding father of the nation, for his unflinching commitment to build national systems to aid in the fight against poverty, diseases and ignorance.
The day also keeps up the momentum for women empowerment in a chauvinistic society. Women have their place of pride in leadership and social development. They have played an integral role in making our environment safe, courtesy of Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai .
The Judiciary is now headed by a woman—Chief Justice Martha Koome, an expert in family law and children’s rights. The Executive has many women, though gender parity is a concern.
The introduction of free primary education and subsidised day secondary schooling by President Mwai Kibaki now has more young Kenyans as professionals and experts in different fields.
The Jubilee government’s ‘Big Four Agenda’ programme has seen many roads constructed while improvement in healthcare, especially cancer treatment, is a big boost. Water projects have been installed to enhance agriculture. Infrastructure, such as standard gauge railway, has opened up regions to markets.
However, this is not the development that impacts the people positively; the ability to afford or access to basic needs is an indicator of sustainability.
Great Kenyans have done great things that did us proud: Sports people, musicians, artisans and even film-makers. However, there is a call for alarm to repair the rotten bridge that links to success. There are issues that Kenyans should stand up and address with honesty and microcosm.
Corruption has contributed to increasing poverty rates and extra-judicial killings. And why, in this 21st Century, are we still embroiled in negative ethnicity, police brutality, sluggish economy and tribal political alliances?
It takes a patriot amongst the citizens to put things right, restore liberty and promote economic growth and development. That is the Madaraka Day we should be celebrating.
Aloys Michael, Kisumu