The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: I May Seem Weak but, I'll Take Power to the Mwananchi

A 27 year old Kenyan student from Oxford University has become the latest entrant in the now seemingly crowded 2012 presidential race. In announcing ... ( Resource: Kenya's Youngest Presidential Aspirant

A year ago, I came to the public and declared my interest in running for the presidency. I was then a second year student doing a Creative Writing MSt. at the University of Oxford. Today I am glad to share the news with the public that I completed my course and submitted my final assignment.

I took the unusual choice of jumping into politics and running for the presidency because there is a crisis of leadership in this country. This is the conclusion that emerges at the end of every conference, discussion or workshop that l have attended.

I decided that rather than sit on the side and point fingers about how our leaders are failing us, I could jump in and get involved in the efforts to make things better.

There have been many detractors and skeptics who point at my age and gender. But this will not stop me in doing my bit for the country, with all the talents, privileges and blessings I have been afforded in my life.

My situation is much like the hummingbird the late Professor Wangari Maathai spoke of which tried to put out a forest fire by carrying water in its tiny beak.

When asked the logic of this by other animals that were idly standing on the side, the hummingbird said, "I am a hummingbird, I can only do what I can."

In the same way, though small and puny my efforts may seem, they are what I have to give, and I give them with a willing and eager heart.

History is made up of events which at one time looked impossible, but eventually turned out possible. Christopher Reeve said, "So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then seem improbable, then when we summon the will, they soon seem inevitable."

My candidacy does not intend to be presumptuous to declare that l am the source of all problems in the country. Instead, what l am about is to hold open dialogue with groups from all over the country, find out what the various situations are, and work with communities to empower themselves.

The current political culture has led people to what can only be called a learned helplessness, which has emasculated us off our potential.

Any crisis that occurs in the country is followed by the very familiar lament of citizens saying, "tunaomba serikali", when some things are within their own control to work out.

I will be seeking nomination for the presidency on a Labour Party of Kenya ticket. We are currently in talks to find out how the party nomination fees can be wavered.

There is already a case in court filed by the Youth Agenda against the IEBC to do away with the nomination fees as Kenyans already pay for the elections from taxes. We need to break out of the noose that equates big money with leadership. Leadership has never had anything to do with personal wealth.

We do not have big cars and choppers but we will use buses and matatus like the everyday mwananchi, because we are everyday wananchi.

It is time for the people to take back the power from the rich. We are going out to have conversations with like-minded people about what we need to do to transform Kenya. Change will not come from one person alone, it will come from all of us.

We ask for the goodwill and support of fellow Kenyans. Many, intrigued by this idealistic and quixotic campaign have asked how they can come on board and how they can contribute to it. We will soon be able to give the public the details of this.

In the meantime, let us remember the words of the English writer Somerset Maugham who said "It's a very funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it." It is time we raised our standards and demanded nothing but the very best for ourselves.

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