We’ll be victorious; we have Faith

Faith Kipyegon

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon reacts as she wins the Women's 1500m event, setting a new world record of 3:49.11, during the Wanda Diamond League 2023 Golden Gala on June 2, 2023 at the Ridolfi stadium in Florence, Tuscany.

Photo credit: Filippo Monteforte | AFP

We have Faith. Yes, it’s not always doom and gloom, for every so often, we have a reason to go to bed happy and wake up full of hope and optimism.

This despite the conditions which reduce us to helplessness and hopelessness. We are captive to lying, bullying thieving leaders; a tanking economy; bullying politicians thriving on embedded corruption and exploitation of ethnic and class divides.

Hackneyed policies being pushed down our throats herald no hope of economic revival, which, combined with toxic politics of benefit only to the emerging class of ‘tenderpreneurs’, only create that which should drive us deeper into the depths of despair.

But we have Faith, and with that renewal of national pride, and confidence that somehow—despite government—we will turn the corner to emerge a prosperous, united, proud people in a country full of promise.

Sometimes this renewal will happen because just one individual has scored a stupendous feat that epitomises what it means to be Kenyan and reminds us that we still walk tall and proud on the global stage.

It is easy to dismiss Faith as something one cannot really hold on to. As something akin to religious beliefs that are not based on logic and reason but simply on obeying some doctrine or preacher without question.

Woeful conditions

Yet Faith is not always intangible. We can see, hold and touch Faith. We can talk to Faith. When we are down and out and surrendering to our woeful conditions, Faith will hold our hand and pull us up.

That was the magical moment delivered at the Stadio Luigi Ridolfi, in Florence, Italy, on Friday. Those in the stadium and the rest of us remotely ‘present’ via the small screen witnessed within just a brief moment—three minutes and 49.11 seconds, to be precise—a feat of pure brilliance that brought tears of joy to our eyes.

That moment put us on top of the world, transporting us from the desolation of a broke and broken country into immeasurable pride, hope and confidence. It was a moment to remind us that we cannot, and must never, give up.

It was a moment from Faith that rekindled burning embers, filling us not just with pride and joy but, more importantly, hope and confidence that we can lift ourselves up from misery.

We can overcome

Yes, with hard work and determination, we can overcome. We can conquer the demons that hold us back and emerge winners in that perennial fight for survival.

We have it within us all the power to change our conditions. Through our own creativity and imagination, we can individually improve ourselves but also transform society towards that elusive goal of a united prosperous nation.

Faith unleashes a power in ourselves that we never knew we had. This is the time to stop whining and start working towards a future we can only imagine for ourselves.

We must now take control of our own individual and collective destinies. And we will do that by abandoning the mindset that salvation lies in the government.

It is by recognising the truth that the government does not work for us, and that politicians do not mean well for us, that we will embark on the journey towards self-actualisation.

We can begin working towards dreams and aspirations that are not dependent on charity, benevolence or direction from those in leadership only out to feather their own nests.

Thank you, Faith. We love you and we owe you.

* * *

President William Ruto seems captive to messianic belief that his controversial affordable housing plan is the answer to all of Kenya’s economic problems.

That he has to resort to threats and intimidation to whip his own Kenya Kwanza parliamentarians into line is very telling. Even his own troops are not believers. The truth is, despite increasingly aggressive pitches, the mandatory housing tax, saving, contribution, levy or whatever the government may want to call it, is a hard sell.

Resorting to strong-arm tactics laced with language redolent of the Moi-era one-party dictatorship shows increasing desperation.

The President has every right to continue pushing a legacy project but must learn that persuasion works better than coercion. He also must refrain from exploiting class differences with the dangerous narratives that it is the well-off resisting a project meant for the benefit of the poor.

Class war, once unleashed, will be impossible to bottle.

It is not too late for President Ruto to recognise the realities and do the right thing. If he questions the value of advice he’s getting from snake oil salesmen, he will step back.

[email protected]. @MachariaGaitho