NERIMA: We are at a place where the value of life is somehow not that valuable

Saturday November 30 2019

Kenya bbi

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Opposition leader Raila Odinga react during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative report in Nairobi on November 27, 2019. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP 

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Building Bridges Initiative report is finally out and it will be dissected, examined and scrutinised. Which it should be, considering it is the solution (we presume) to keeping the fabric of this country together.

The Daily Nation had the image of a fist with the colours of the Kenyan flag surrounded in white. An image they say is worth 1,000 words, this one can predict the next 100 years of this country.

Kenya is more than 50 years old, and we have a lot of habits that need to die. Habits that are not good for this nation and we know it, they bring divisive politics and attitudes that have been known to destroy nations at a whim.

With reports come great ideas, magnificent ones, which this country does not fall short of.

Travelling the globe, it is not rare to find a Kenyan prospering in a field. But there is something about great ideas, they need great people to fulfil them.

There's a saying my brother constantly shares during debates about business opportunities. He normally jokes that, the young and broke always have great ideas, but the old and rich normally lack great ideas.


Great ideas and plans need follow through. They require determination and discipline to be achieved. An idea sees past an individual and into the future with out you.

It means being carried by your children and your children's children. That is how a national plan is written. It requires team work from everyone and to be owned by all, we have to all want it, not just a particular political sect, but the average citizen needs to understand its importance.

There are countries that have been rebuilt and some it took a whole war to force them to do so, but they managed to rebuild social fibres in a matter of decades. But there is no doubt that the leadership had to be as passionate about the change and growth.

When we continue to instil an attitude that we only perform well when we are observed, then our children are not taught how to be decent human beings. That is why we can have a law that says we must where seat belts in public transport forgotten.

Only to be reinforced for two weeks of scaring people to wear their belts and randomly arresting them—to go back to people not wearing them at all. They flop on the sides of your seat when you now enter a matatu.

And people are not concerned about them, they have simply forgotten. The seat belt is not to stop the police officer from harassing you - but for your own safety. Isn't your life precious?

From our deplorable health care to toxic waste for food that we eat daily. We are at a place that the value of life is somehow not that valuable.

Our very core must want the best for ourselves, and the best for this country for BBI to work. It is more than just a position in government. There are aspects of values we need to seriously think about and find ways to instil when it comes to positively building this nation.

Otherwise it will be another report that we continue to quote for decades to come that will struggle to be actualized like reports that have come before it.

We can say a lot of things, what we should be concerned about it is the action. Like what is said to children, “monkey see, monkey do” It doesn’t really matter what you say to a child, it is what they see you do.

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa is executive director of Siasa Place. Twitter: @NerimaW