If foreign detractors have been accusing our leadership of being intolerant, may it be happy to plead guilty! And, in fact, beyond that, may it now start to be more severely so!
After all, the people of this land are happy exactly because of that.
It’s true, though, that even some of us, leave alone foreigners, took time to appreciate the sense of it all. Because when first we saw this intolerance, say over our walking on grassy medians of double carriageways, it did not immediately register into our minds that it’d in the end put us among the cleanest and most orderly societies of the world.
And can you point out a people that restored their peace and reconciled faster? It was all thanks to this intolerance. Intolerance to dirt, disorder, laxity, poverty, insecurity, impunity and more. Intolerance to any abuse to anybody or to us as a people.
But our people are not yet where they deserve to be, said President Kagame the other day after the new government had just been sworn in. Now that! Who doesn’t know its weight and significance?
We know, because our president’s method of work hasn’t been called “imvugo niyo ngiro” (his word is his bond) for nothing. This new government will deliver or else!
Which will mean severer intolerance to graft, where some leaders manage to find “comfort zones” in a country that’s averse to enjoying any, when work awaits. The “comfort zone”, for instance, of anybody siphoning off part of funds for building roads to end up delivering shoddy work.
It will mean severer intolerance to economic stagnation, citizen impediment, inequality, unreliability, obscurantism and opacity where what’s done is never clearly communicated and shared among all concerned parties.
And what’s democracy if it’s not citizen participation, equality, accountability, transparency, no abuse of power and, paramount among them, economic freedom?
Tolerance, too, yes, in the sense of being intolerant of those who cannot tolerate divergent views, the exchange of which ensure better performance.
That’s how that intolerance, in effect, has birthed democracy.
From its deathbed this country has advanced beyond all expectations, despite the detractors’ unceasing “but” intended to negate everything. Still, it remains a fact.
There is no ground to doubt, therefore, that the country may turn into a smooth working machine that delivers comprehensively consensual democracy à la Rwandaise, to finally tie these detractors’ tongues.
There are teething problems like youth unemployment, full infrastructural development, proper health service delivery, quality education provision, agricultural expansion and mechanisation and many others but they are not exactly unsolvable.
If our government can get its act together and work in complete concurrence across and up and down all institutions, departments, agencies and the citizenry, this country can go far, faster.
The possibility of this was borne out by the amazing organization of this year’s RPF campaigns.
For every campaign site, GPS measurements were taken to determine the square metres required for the expected size of crowd attendance, worked on in consultation with national, provincial, district, sector, cell down to village levels.
Tents were set up for the vulnerable, pregnant and young, always leaving walk- and drive-ways for the candidate and service-providers.
Meanwhile, those intending to attend campaign rallies had been identified, transport vehicles found and their mechanical soundness ascertained for the orderly transportation of people to and from the campaign venues, wherever necessary.
For the peoples’ health and hygiene, campaign sites were dotted with enough medical tents that were manned by teams of doctors, nurses and health workers, in case of emergency.
Tanks of treated water with disposable cups for the able-bodied, bottled mineral water as well as juices and biscuits for the weak and young were at the disposal of all these categories, without forgetting portable public conveniences in addition to those already at the site.
Their cleanliness, plus enough toiletries (water, soap, disinfectant, disposable towels, etc.), had been ensured, too.
Seeing the logistics in place; the decorations; the sound systems and projector screens; wifi internet everywhere and facilitation for media coverage; the security checks and maintenance of peaceful assembly to cap it all, and knowing everything was done to cater for crowds sometimes upward of 40,000, one could only marvel.
Remember that all the above had to be replicated twice, thrice, sometimes four times in each of the thirty districts of this country. And that everything was packed into one single month of campaigns.
Yet at every single venue throughout, all went on without a single incident.
As for the clean, smooth, orderly and transparent process on polling day, in Kenya it’d have thrown their Supreme Court out of business!
Talking of which, let’s pray that nullification judgement was passed after considering the context the judges operate in and that they have not handed our brothers and sisters a tinderbox. May they all have the heart to remember that Kenya matters more than any single individual therein!
As their Chief Justice was once told, “.....laws are based on values, but they are not the same as values.”
So is it with us. RPF campaigns opened our eyes to what we are capable of, basing ourselves on our values; if we commit to maximally apply ourselves. But then again, should we be surprised?
Wasn’t it the RPF that gave us the audacity to exert our intolerance to mediocrity of any form?