Kenyan Politics of Underdevelopment

Ogbaji Udochukwu in his book Imperialism in Africa: Politics of Development and Underdevelopment, he defines development as a normative concept referring to a multi-dimensional process. Some scholars argue that development must be relative to time, place and circumstances, and dismiss any universal formula. Increased economic efficiency, expansion of national economic capacity and technological advancement are generally accepted as necessary conditions if development is to be sustainable, as are economic and industrial diversification and adaptability in the face of shocks. Additional ingredients, attached by writers from various social sciences includes changes in social structure, attitudes, and motivation or specify the purposes of economic improvement, increases in Gross National Product (GNP) and average real incomes are means, not ends.

Fast forward to the reality in Africa and specifically Kenya. The politics we currently have is a disgrace to our forefathers who fought for our sovereignty. Most of them must be rolling in anger in their graves at how we are managing the blood-fought for freedom. The politics we have now is that of underdevelopment. Backwardness to be precise.

The leaders we have been given by the constitution the right to elect every five years have resulted in playing fool games with our patience and hard work. I wonder if sometimes we are fools when we elect the same leaders who have done nothing in their past term or is it juju magic they are using to make us vote for them every five years.

Albeit, we are almost getting out of the quagmire as seen from the past general election when seasoned politicians were floored by new breeds. Mark you, it will be tom foolery if they also don’t realize why their competitors were thrown out. They need to proof their worthiness to win the hearts of their constituents for the second time or thereof.

This seems not to be the case for one Kithure Kindiki who had the audacity to land from a chopper, went and changed then without shame started making mud and using it to wall a classroom. Kamutuandu Primary School kids will remember ‘Prof’ Kithure Kindiki landing from a chopper but will be shocked to know it brought their Senator to mud their school! This is what we call politics of underdevelopment. The amount of money this Professor used to hire a chopper was more than enough to build two to five classrooms with timber if not bricks or something better to shield the kids from the cold and scorching sun.

The times of giving people something better than you got has faded. I see a time where every weekend our leaders will be coming home to hang around with the residents just to be seen and heard but not bring investors to build hospitals, schools and dams that will benefit the locals.

I admire the close touch some of our politicians have with the people but again, the quality is wanting. One Otiende Amollo is a darling to many for his down to earth feel with his people, but one would question. Why do you go and make mud and start building mud houses for people? Same monkeys different forest, right? Isn’t it the same mud that you destroyed and refurbished it with just adding straws of sticks to keep it strong? Why not empower one brick maker by buying from them and help the old mamas get good houses. R. Buckminster said, you never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

otiende

It’s time we Kenyans questioned our leaders without fear. We need tangible development and long lasting ones.

We need passable roads, we need good medical facilities with medicine, we need a corruption free society, we need good schools, we need good housing facilities not shanties, we need the best from them. We signed a social contract with them on 8th August 2017.

The saying “Tradition goes on” is anti-dynamic and ruins the progress and development of every nation that adheres to it.

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Charity Wrapped with dignity

She asked him,’How much are you selling the eggs for?’
The old seller replied, ‘Ksh.10/- an egg, Madam.’
She said to him,’I will take 6 eggs for Ksh.50/- or I will leave.’
The old seller replied,’Come take them at price you want. May be, this is a good beginning because I have not been able to sell even a single egg today.’

She took the eggs and walked away feeling she has won.She got into her fancy car and went to a posh restaurant with her friend. There, she and her friend,ordered whatever they liked. They ate a little and left a lot of what they ordered.Then she went to pay the bill. The bill costed her Ksh.1,400/-. She gave Ksh. 1,500/- and asked owner of the restaurant to keep the change.

This incident might have seemed quite normal to owner but, very painful to the poor egg seller.

The point is,
Why do we always show we have the power when we buy from the needy ones?And why do we get generous to those who do not even need our generosity?

I once read somewhere:

‘my father used to buy simple goods from poor people at high prices, even though he did not need them.Sometimes he even used to pay extra for them.I got concerned by this act and asked him why does he do so? Then my father replied, “It is a charity wrapped with dignity, my child”

 

Copping up with today’s era

If you have children or grandchildren, chances are you can’t help but notice what a different world they’re growing up in compared to when you were their age.

If you tell them what life was like when you were young, they may be astonished at how different things were “back then.” I know when I tell my 14 and 16-year-old sons stories from when I was their age, they have a hard time grasping the concepts of typing term papers on a typewriter, writing out letters by hand, only having four television stations to watch, and having to go to the library to get information for a school project.

Of course, we’ve come to expect that lifestyles are going to change somewhat from one generation to the next. Amazingly, though, my kids have also remarked on how much the world has changed just since they were born. Though they’re only in their mid teens, they can remember a time when people didn’t carry cell phones and PDAs with them wherever they went, and when there were no such things as iPods, Wi-Fi Internet, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

They’ll often note how our “slow” computer we get frustrated with today was considered a “fast” machine just a few years ago. They can also think back to a time when we didn’t have to wait in long security lines at the airport, and terrorism seemed like something that only happened in far-flung lands.

Change now exploding exponentially

It all underscores a vital point: While our world has always experienced change, the rate of change is speeding up. Many historians, sociologists and journalists have expressed concern in recent years about the rapid change in our society. They tell us that today’s world is changing at an accelerated rate, unlike anything past generations witnessed.

In his 2004 bestseller Margin, physician and futurist Richard Swenson explains that change picked up momentum in the early part of the 20th century and has been rapidly accelerating ever since. The reason, he states, is that “the mathematics are different. Many of the linear lines that in the past described our lives well have now disappeared. Replacing them are lines that slope upward exponentially.

“Because there is little in our day-to-day lives that changes exponentially, we tend to think with a linear mindset. The sun rises and the sun sets. Twenty-four hours. Week after week, everything seems about the same. Meanwhile, largely unnoticed by us, history has shifted to fast forward. If linear still best describes our personal lives, exponential now best describes most of historical change” (p. 40).

In other words, as time progresses the world is changing at an exponentially increasing rate. Yet a century ago, historical change was linear (maintaining the same pace) and thus was much less noticeable.

This period of accelerating change we’re now witnessing can and has put a strain on individuals and entire societies. In 1970, futurist Alvin Toffler described the effects of “too much change in too short a period of time” in his contemporary classic Future Shock.

At the time, he predicted that people exposed to these rapid changes of modern life would suffer from “shattering stress and disorientation.” They would be, in his words, “future-shocked.” He maintained that the need to constantly adapt to changing situations could lead to feelings of helplessness, despair, depression, uncertainty, insecurity, anxiety and burnout.

Four decades later, what Toffler wrote describes our world more than ever. Future shock is here!

More change than we can handle

“The fear of rapid change is big today,” observes Gabe Ignatow, Ph.D., a sociologist at the University of North Texas. “Many people see the changes going on in the world around us and are worried and anxious. If they also have changes going on in their personal lives—maybe they lost their job or had to find a new place to live because their home was foreclosed—it can all be overwhelming.”

Most people can handle a certain amount of change, Ignatow says. The problem is, we are increasingly being overloaded with more change than we can handle.

Susan Silbey, Ph.D., is a sociologist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a special interest in technology and societal change. She also sees the intensifying problems of uncertainty and anxiety resulting from too much change.

She notes that mankind has always faced uncertainty, along with pain, hardship and tragedy. A few centuries ago, the uncertainty might have been: What’s it like in the new frontier where we’re headed to? Will this season produce a good crop? When will it rain again?

A big difference between previous times and today, she says, is that in the past people looked to God to help them through difficult times. “Several hundred years ago there were very few people who didn’t have some religion, which gave them an explanation of the world. But for many people today, that doesn’t exist as an answer anymore.”

When the religious belief system erodes away, people generally do not cope as well with change and stress, she notes.

The root of change

So what has caused our world to change so rapidly in recent years? “Ultimately, it’s due to technological advances,” replies Ignatow. Case in point: With the advent of the printing press in the 15th century, there was certainly a paradigm shift (a change from one way of thinking to another), but it took a century for that shift to occur. Before that (with only word of mouth and slow travel), it may have taken several centuries for a major shift in societal views to occur. Now, with the Internet, such a shift may take only a few years. “There’s a case to be made that with the Internet and communication technology spreading around the world, it has really upset a lot of social patterns,” Ignatow says.

Certainly technological progress can lead to very positive changes. Inventions such as computers, the Internet, communications satellites and genetic diagnostic tools help improve our lives in many ways. Difficult tasks are made simple and can be done much more quickly.

However, technological innovation can also lead to other changes—some of them not so positive. “Throughout history, when new inventions were introduced into a society, it has impacted the society’s customs, values and beliefs,” Silbey says.

Since the Industrial Revolution, when the speed of change really started picking up, society has been transforming accordingly. It began with a shift from a rural, agrarian society to an urban, industrial society. Fewer workers were needed to cultivate greater crops, so more people moved to big cities to take factory jobs. That led to a whole range of changes in lifestyle, family structure, culture and values.

The computer revolution that started around 25 years ago sent the rate of change into its exponential rise. Today, scientific and technological changes are taking place at such a breathtaking pace that many have difficulty keeping up with them.

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