Is it correct to affirm that as a region, as the people of the Counties of the former Western Province of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and Trans Nzoia County and the Luhya Nation, we are stuck in “the cycle of sameness”, unbroken from generation unto generation and even largely the same in families from one generation unto the other generation?
Is it arguable that we are entrenched, mired in a risk averse mindset where the unwritten, unspoken mantra is “Let’s-do-it-like-we-always did-it-because-that’s-the-way-we-always-did-it” culture? To test whether this postulation of sameness is right or wrong we may for example examine our politics since independence and the inevitable answer is that we are steeped, chained to sameness and therefore the outcomes of our politics are predictable as they were in 2017, will be in 2022 and as they were in the 1960s and in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Look at our economy – which is largely agriculture based and it is mired in sameness whether you look at the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s.
The sugar cane story, the maize story, the coffee story, and any other cash or food crop. And look at our social activities be it burials, marriages, rites of passage,social interchanges and transactions and what does one see – “sameness”. And what is the defining face of our socio-economic and political architecture as a region–subsistence economy, subsistence politics, subsistence societal mores. Yes poverty, disease and ignorance colour too many of our people. Yes there are those who are blessed but where are the majority of our citizens? Captured in the sameness of poverty, disease, ignorance.
Oscar Wilde the British author once stated that “The world belongs to the discontented” May be we need as a region to embrace, inbuilt in our DNA, re-engineer our mindset so that we entrench a sense of discontent with the status quo that has numbed our ability to radically change our economy, our politics and our social organization. Are we taking bold risks to re-engineer our homeland? We think not.
Discontent is dissatisfaction with one’s circumstances, lack of contentment with the way things are. Do a majority of the people of Western have boiling discontent with our sycophantic, cowardly, visionless politicians and therefore our politics to hunger for its radical change. We submit not and therefore we will remain in the abject state of politics we have perfected until the majority are discontented enough to radically reshape the politics.
Do a majority of the people of Western have boiling discontent with our subsistence, and/or exploitative cash crop farming with no value addition and other economic activities to hunger for the re-engineering of our economic endeavours be it in agriculture, industry, services so that the economy delivers more prosperity to a majority it’s citizens, creates jobs for the youth? We state not.
And last do a majority of the people of Western have boiling discontent with our culture and how it servingor not serving us efficiently so as to hunger to overhaul it so that it can be an engine, a driver, incentive to our aspirations for a homeland where we dwell in prosperity, freedom and success over ensuing generations, where poverty, disease and ignorance are the exception, rather than the rule.
Are our schools, our homes, teachers, parents infusing in those re preparing asour successors, our heirs, the mindset, the orientation, the psyche of being ready to take risks to break out of the sameness of our past and present generation and the daring to do things differently from the way we are doing them. That is not in the Kenyan syllabus but we must find a way to infuse it in those we are preparing for tomorrow. That sameness may doom them to live the lives of their teachers, their parents yet so much opportunity so much greatness, so much better quality of life beckons but only if we dare break from the chain of sameness that has bound us to our past and in our present. The challenge is with me and you to break from the cycle of sameness if we are to transform our homeland for the prosperity of the majority.