Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Intellectuals should be catalysts for change in the Country

I concur with the views expressed by Professor Mutua Makau in the Sunday Nation dated 13th June. His objective arguments are an inspiration to many of us in the Diaspora.

Unlike many Kenyan Scholars abroad who have either decided to remain mum or developed disinterest in the remaking of our nation, Professor Makau has stayed a float on issues that bedevil our nation; arguing objectively without bias while providing tangible solutions on the way forward for our motherland.

Personally, I’m proud of Professor Makau’s portrayal of leadership where he has persistently injected, concrete and tangible ideas from the Diaspora to Kenya’s mass media. I find his arguments especially on the proposed constitution fair and balanced. In his Sunday Nation column, he captured the feelings of the nation on the need for politicians to desist from pursuing egocentric ethnic interests that are detrimental to the unity and cohesiveness of the nation.

To second his views, I could like to remind the Kalenjin community that honourable Ruto and former president Moi are misleading them by keeping them at ransom thereby isolating them from the rest of country on national decisions. They two have proved to Kenyans that they love to thrive on controversy in order to stay afloat politically.

Kenya is a diverse nation and what hurts one community hurts all. That is why the impact from the post election violence of 2008 affected the entire nation despite not touching all the 42 communities in Kenya.
Watching quietly when politicians are using the referendum campaign to set the nation on fire will be more tragic for Kenya.

We want damage control before we degenerate to the abyss of 2008. What happened at Uhuru Park on Sunday is a sign of bad things to come unless the government moves decisively to unravel the truth on those who committed the heinous crime.

In fact, there is no provision in the proposed constitution where certain groups, social classes, individuals or communities will be targeted and deprived off certain right and privileges. Furthermore, there is no provision that legalizes homosexuality the way those in the no camp appears to argue.

Our Country is in the process of healing and reconciliation. This is the time we want to hear the voices of the top cream of our Society the way Professor Makau has always done so that their ideas and knowledge can be harnessed to keep our country moving.

Therefore, I challenge Scholars in the Diaspora especially the famous ones like Professors Ngugi Wathiongo, and Ali Mazrui to join Professor Mutua Makau’s league as catalysts for change. Their intellectual prowess is needed in the wonderful debate currently going on over a new constitution that will pave the way for Kenya’s rebirth.

It’s useless to climb the academic ladder and fail to give direction on issues that matter for the nation. In fact, the quest for knowledge is to acquire skills, knowledge and expertise that will help society in times of a crisis. I cringe with disgust each time I read Mutahi Ngunyi one of Kenya’s intellectuals in his Sunday Nation column. He sounds like someone whose intellectual prowess is either getting drained or reasons like an ordinary citizen. While he has a democratic right to take a position in the proposed law, his views are myopic, ambiguous and cannot shape our national destiny. He always duels on medieval generalities with no exit strategy on national predicaments.

Those accessing the mass media should ensure that their views are objective and in tandem with the substance that will hold Kenya together. Many of us have read the proposed law and concluded that it contains excellent provisions that will nurture equality and equity, freedom and justice as well as building a culture of fair governance systems and processes for the benefit of the entire nation. May our intellectuals join the club?
Joseph Lister Nyaringo
NJ USA
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