Monday, 9 July 2012

Let Kenya Be

We will never leave you
For at the darkest hours we stood by
We know your pain, for we have lived it,
We know what sorrow is, for we have felt it

Kenya, the land of hypocrites
Where, the sons of mau mau live in holes
Figuratively interred by the graves of their fathers
Yet you who have lived the pain, show us your scars
Show us your bullet marks, strip so that we may witness

We are the defining moment, countrymen and women,
The point where we are at take-off
We were left by Singapore and Korea
We cannot afford to get lost again

It has always been defining moments, for all we care
1963 was a defining moment too
And year by year, we have grown weary of speeches
Speeches coated with poetry and stolen from America
With time, brother, we have shut our ears to those take offs
1963, we had all the hope, all the dream, all the vision
What makes you think we are excited by these?

At independence, we swore to fight disease, ignorance and illiteracy
This remains our rallying call
And with it, we have new challenges,
Corruption at our offices, boss leadership,
Nepotism, favouritism, tunnel-visioned leadership…
Blah blah blah blah

Name them all, name them all,
But like a song from a scratched CD, you annoy,
There was a time we were excited by you,
You naming all the vices strangling us
And with the naiveté we had, we exclaimed,
‘Now, that is our prophet, our seer’
And with all our energy from our malnourished stomachs
We carried you high, your big body weighing upon us,
Some, like victims of any revolution, died from suffocation
Or dislocated spines, and we buried them silently
But now, you are no seer, tell us what you will do
When, how, why, and if need be slap your forehead
Lick your tongue and swear before our ancestors

This is the blue-print to our future, Wanjikus,
In it, I lay out what I will do for Kenya
In agriculture for example—no rain-fed agriculture
In security— two pistols for every cop
In education— a salary hike to teachers
In health— bigger and well-equipped hospitals

Blue-prints, that’s right,
Written by technocrats holed up in offices
Consulting on big tomes and countless reports
Pray, mr. blue-print, if only you listened to the
Hoes of farmers in the fields, you wouldn’t speak a thing
The police are shot every day, their numbers are few,
They live in decrepit shacks divided by curtains
And there you are, unashamedly promising them more pistols,
No, they need no pistols, they need more respect,
To patrol the city with the dignity worth their ranks
To retreat to houses that speaks of the Nation’s respect for them
The teachers, the teachers need not be lied to
As if they were the children they educate
We owe it to teachers for who we are,
Pray, was it fair to reduce all this to carrot and stick?
And health care, why should it be promised?
Why should doctors strike?
What message does it send to a mkokoteni pusher?

You have known me all this time,
I helped establish blah blah blah,
Trust me with this honour,
I am different
I am not like my predecessors
I was in a bad system
I was not corrupt

Same lies, same mouth, different times,
We have watched you silently, in disgust,
You talking in our TVs, speaking filth all your life,
You did less, you spoke much, you forgot us,
And in the corrupt system you grew up in,
You trained yourself how to bend your head,
To look away when the darkest crimes were committed
Your hands are filled with blood
Of the many you killed when you didn’t speak
You looted much, you gave less,
You have done a little less out of shame
Not by some sense of service within you
You are power-hungry, you are after yourself
And you are corrupt, very corrupt

What Kenya needs are leaders who can preach peace
We should not have a repeat of 2007/2008

Well said, well said,
Yes, they need leaders who can preach peace
Not you, not you,
You are the greatest enemy to Kenya’s peace
If only you had noticed how the skies sigh
Every time you spew bilge, you would not speak,
Why is it that vultures hover around your meetings?
May be I should not ask, but with respect,
You will do everyone good if you let Kenya be


Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is a passionate plea on behalf of Kenya, Salem. I hope you read this at a poetry slam. Imagine the applause, it would shake the heavens. Oh for a day when social justice shines on very nation, hey, kiddo? It can be. I just hope it WILL be, one of these fine days, when true leaders emerge and say something true and real and then follow their words with actions. We live, truly, in hope.

echoesofthehills said...

Thank you, as always, Koko.

I will read it in one of the poetry slams and I will tell you how it goes.


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