Last week I travelled back to the place that witnessed my first baby steps. I was extremely excited to go back to a place I call home. But before I left for my ancestral land, I took a trip the day before to a place away from the city. On my way back, I indulged myself in some small talk with some citizens. The topics varied from the structure of the government to the status quo of our political leaders. One gentleman told me that the current trend in choosing our leaders is by analyzing the amount of money they give to the ordinary “Mwananchi”. The one who gives the most amount to the masses is most likely to win the election. My curiosity couldn’t let the statement die like that, I inquired as to why this was the case and yet citizens know very well that there is no amount of money that can be traded for their power to make a difference in the governance of the nation. I was told that the economy has damaged the lives of the common man to the extent that one shilling would be more than enough for a political aspirant to secure his seat in the next government. My heart divided into two when I realized that politics is no longer a battle of change makers but rather one of money-givers. Where is the world turning to if people no longer value the importance of being a servant leader?
The following day, I rushed off to my ancestral home, hoping that I could finally bond with my grandparents and also catch up on lost times. That exact day I arrived, I overheard some of the locals talk about a meeting that is going to be held at night. The first thing that came to my mind was that probably there was going to be a cultural meeting just like in the ancient African traditional society where probably families were going to talk about various action steps in preserving their culture within the current and next generation. Dawn was rising faster than I thought and by 8pm, all neighbouring families had converged at an agreed rendezvous. In my mind I was thinking that the subject matter was a serious topic that affected all of us. Sooner than I thought, I saw a bishop arrive with a couple of men. Hardly had the bishop sat down than he begun to talk politics. I was optimistic that probably he is calling everyone to vote wisely and not succumb to the political vices that are being transmitted all over faster than the speed of light. To my dismay he was backing one of the political aspirants and at the end of his unusually long political aspirant pitch, he handed over some money to all the people who attended the meeting- both young and old. He gave everyone an equivalent of a dollar – my assumption of “vote buying” is that if you are to bribe, at least be sensible enough to give people money that can cause a difference in the lives of people. But in such a tough economy, one hands a dollar. A DOLLAR….!!!!! In exchange for a vote. I felt like blaming the voters for selling their votes cheaply but on the other hand, what amount of money would be enough for one to exchange their votes?
Usually, the first thing people do is play the blame-game from all angles. I wanted to join the gamers in this case, but to another extent I realized that blaming only builds conflicts rather than finds solutions. We all see problems that engulf the world we live in, but the only thing we are good at doing is talking about the repercussions of a vice rather than finding solutions to the issues swallowing up our world. We need to change the lenses through which we look at life’s challenges, so that we can stop talking about problems and begin sharing ideas on how to make the antidotes that will clear up the world of all the plagues that degrade us of our rich cultures. So the next time you face a challenge, don’t talk about the challenge; talk about how to put an end to the issue. Instead of saying,” Poverty won’t leave our family.” Say , “ we need to start up a business that can help put bread on the table.”. It all begins with you.