It is exactly fifty years since Kenya attained independence from Britain on December 12, 1963.
At midnight on that memorable day, the Union Jack was lowered and our national flag hoisted. Our national anthem was sung and a new nation was born.
The government and media are trying to create a jolly atmosphere as we mark the fiftieth anniversary of independence. They are painting an artificial happy mood when in real sense, there is little to smile about.
50 years later, we have made some remarkable political, economical and social strides but we are still a developing country. The population has grown from below 10 million to over 40 million, but there are no adequate basic social amenities for the bulging numbers. We are still living in the third world.
What exactly are we celebrating? 50 is just a number. Kenya at 50 is not different from Kenya at 5. In fact, we have fallen behind.
Apparently, we were at par in the 60’s with the likes of Singapore and Malaysia who are now Asian economic tigers. Corruption and bad leadership is our Achille’s heel but we have the potential to be a middle income country.
Poverty, ignorance and disease, which were our biggest enemies at birth, are still major challenges now.
Kenya at 50 is still sick, poor and ignorant. We are sick at 50, poor at 50, ignorant at 50.
We are corrupt at 50, careless at 50, tribal at 50, divided at 50, developing at 50, stuck in traffic jams at 50, facing international criminal trials at 50, unemployed at 50, striking at 50, insecure at 50, hungry at 50, thirsty at 50, homeless at 50, uneducated at 50, congested at 50, living in shanties at 50, dying in road accidents at 50 and taxing the dead at 50.
That is the Kenya at 50 that they won’t tell you about.