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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Restituting virtues in Kenyan society

By Regina Nyokabi

It’s true that we’ve now managed to establish some form of civilized administration. But our people’s minds, attitudes and manners are still very much in the jungle of savagery where they were stranded for decades on end.

It seems that colonialism did a lot of damage to our ethical, integrity and transparency virtues more than it did to us. 

This country has gone through a lot of bad experiences in the last hundred years and more. Situated in the horn of Africa, Kenya lies and literally appears like a sleeping lion indeed.

If we start with colonial period for example, the rule of the foreign did a lot of damage to our people. To begin with, the colonialist destroyed all our sources of authority, our traditional leaders and replaced them with either their imported functionaries or local traitors. They also mocked all our customs and beliefs, calling them savage, primitive, backward and heathen. Our people lost their self respect and actually began to believe that they were worthless.

You might think that colonialism ended over forty years ago, with the coming of uhuru, but it left a lot of unfinished business in Africa as in Kenya. After messing up our minds and manners e.g. dressing just to mention a few, the foreigners just abandoned us to our own devices. What followed was even worse than what was happening when the colonialists kept us in check through the use of force. We turned on one another and on everything in sight and started an orgy of destruction that has left our country in complete shambles. 

In those years of blood you had to learn to kill or you would be killed. If you would not steal, you would starve to death. So we forgot all about respecting other people’s property. You could not afford to tell the truth, even about your name or where you come from. You risked being massacred, most probably because you came from the “wrong” ethnic community. So we learned to lie about everything, including ourselves. What has to be done now is to re-educate a whole generation of people who grew up surrounded by lies ,theft ,deceit murder and all kinds of violence and misconduct to start living decently. This is by telling them that normal human beings in a free society do not have to lie, cheat or indulge in violence to accomplish their mission.

I believe in the intelligence of our people especially the young people. Re-education has to start with explanation of evils of violence, dishonesty, bribery and lack of self respect and eventually virtues of faithfulness, honesty, openness and peaceful resolution of conflicts will be adopted
Above all I’m confident, my faith is strong and determination unshakable that we’re willing to change for a better future. After all, we all want development but we cannot develop anything without developing ourselves, our behavior, our attitude and our mentality.

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