“KENYA IS MINE” is the latest motto for Kevin Sudi. Kevin first introduced himself to me after I had posted to the Facebook Village Volunteers’ group about my pending trip to Kenya. He has been instrumental in working with the Common Ground Program and as part of Village Volunteers. He works at a local level:
mainly with widows, teaching them organic farming, HIV/AIDS awareness and positive living, micro finance, entrepreneurship, nature conservation, and we also have a primary school catering majorly for orphans and other vulnerable children.
It is because of our communication that I chose to join forces with the Common Ground Program.
I recently wrote asking where Kevin was, what has happened to Common Ground, and what he thought might come next. My guess is that I was just one of many who had bombarded him with these questions. His reply was an informal mass email written with anger, disallusionment and, most importantly, a passionate sense of national pride and determination:
I am sitting here, wondering what happened to the once beautiful, peaceful country that i call HOME. this WAS home when i was born, and i loved the smell of the country, the green rolling plains and valleys. i loved the people who sweetly passed me from arms to arms, as they all gazed on this little kevin, all saying.. “he is so tiny.. so cute… can i hold him for a while?”
I grew up and loved my schools, the children I met, sat with, played soccer with plastic bags tied together using sisal rope, so tight it was, we cound play it for a whole month before “repair”.
I loved the high schools, the places that taught me to stand on my own feet. The boarding schools, and the teachers that paced up and down the class daily to impart knowledge to me.
Kenya was my HOME as I grew up, singing the national anthem whenever we raised the flag in our school, which was twice a week, Monday and Friday.
Kenya IS my home now, as I watch it burn, when the same people that carried me as a baby, taking me from my mother as she watched them hold me in turns, several people that i so loved being near, who gave my mum such a relief whenever they helped nurture me, these same friends are now foes burning each others’ houses down.
2007 December 27th, these same people, who sat down and ate together, line up in long widing lines, to vote for a president to this beloved country that I call HOME. There are no tribes, just lines and lines of KENYANS. the days is long and tiring, but the wait is worth it.
After that, all hell breaks loose. There are no more kenyans, there are Swahili, Luhya, Luo, Kamba, Kikuyu, Kisii, Kalenjin, Masaai, Nandi, Kipsigis, and a host of so many other tribes that i may not finish here, because my teacher once taught me in that small classroom with paneless windows, that there are around 42 tribes in kenya, and in that class more than half of these tribes were represented.
in exactly one week, from the culminatino of the election, 250,000 KENYANS are refugees in their own country, 500 other KENYANS are piled up in the morgues, several thousands find a way into Uganda, and one needs to virtually cross the border into Uganda to fly into another part of Kenya! my brother had to travel to the capital and this is exactly what he did, and i am not proud of that.
while the politicians sit in Nairobi with their choppers and bulletproof cars, with tight security detail, normal kenyan spends the day in their house, not knowing what to do. no food, no water, no communication as phone credits go up by 70-100%, and all transport means are grounded because some mean-looking men with bloodshot eyes will stop your vehicle, ask for your IDs before sifting through for the WRONG tribe, and then letting the RIGHT tribes pass. you dont want to know what happens to the WRONG tribe.
in all this pandemonium, some government officials can still say we dont neeed mediators, and the country is not having a problem. where does he live? cant he even afford a TV? another one says the international media was wrong to show pictures of horrific murders that occured, I say why not, if it is the fault of the politicians that people died.
before Kenya belonged to any politicians, it was mine, simply because I decide which kenyans get into government or into parliament.
before anyone can decide to burn my country or sit idle as the country burns, KENYA IS MINE.
before there were tribes, the common denominator, apart from the human factor, is that we are KENYAN.
what kind of politics is this, that leads to deaths and suffering? KENYA IS MINE because i will not stand and watch it burn. I will take the war back to the politicians because it is them who are burning MY KENYA.
It is them who are killing my fellow KENYANS. It is them who have made my fellow KENYANS refugees in their own land, without food, without shelter.
The politicians burnt KENYANS in a church. The future of KENYA is mine to decide, and I will, if I get other KENYANS, who dont see the tribal element, but the true spirit of KENYA, the patriotism that our leaders have so evidently lacked.
If you love my country, like I love my country, even if you are not from my country, you are more KENYAN that the political assasins who watch as KENYA’s 44 years are quickly tuned to ashes.
If you are there and you are KENYAN, either by birth or by the feeling of the dire need for peace, stand up with me and help me reclaim KENYA from the politicians, help me do this by holding my hand and proclaim..
“KENYA IS MINE”
……May we dwell in unity peace and liberty plenty be found within our borders…
(part of our national anthem)
Last May, Kevin earned his first degree in Sociology from the University of Ghana and plans to go for his Masters in International Development later this year. He is determined to use his knowledge for the betterment of his country. As of Friday, his Facebook tagline reads:
Kevin Sudi is planning to save KENYA from itself.
I think he, and a lot of driven people like him, will do their best to achieve that end.