January 18th, 2021 marks the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr (MLK), a day which is normally commemorated on the third Monday of January each year. The civil rights leader is fondly remembered for his public speech that was delivered during the march for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States on August 28, 1963. Arguably, this goes down as one of the most iconic speeches.
MLK had a dream, which he stood and fought for, and did anything possible to make sure that it lived to see the day light. Years later, some of the things that he envisioned have come to life, a number are still pending and being fought for to this date. The struggle continues, the hope is high, the dream lives on.
At a time of social and political unrest in Kenya, MLK’s request to ‘make real the promises of democracy’ finds application. To ensure that the nation rises and lives out its true meaning, there needs to be collective effort across board. Young to old, formal to the informal sector, political class to the non- political class. Notably, in the political space, there appears to be lack of ethics, soberness, and values.
Once again, the youth of this nation have been reduced to voting robots, after being cosseted with heavenly promises of how their lives are about to be transformed – by the same people who have been in leadership overtime, recycling political parties – they always end up on the wrong side right after elections; jobless, hopeless, restless and over time harassed by the systems that exist. Worse still, they have continually been blamed for not doing enough, which in most cases, it is due to poor governance and policy structures. Is it about to end? If no, who will salvage the situation?
There is need for more young women and men to rise and become change agents that they long to have. People who care and understand the realities that the ‘common’ mwananchi is facing. People who are ready to lead and transform, based on values and not following their political godfathers. People who are ready to live up to their dreams, rise and drive out darkness that has consistently engulfed the country. People who are ready to stand up for the truth, when it matters most, not afraid of the consequences, just like MLK.
Overtime, we have seen more young people rise to the occasion, taken over mantles from old, tired men and women. Some, however, have sunk in the same mess that has held captivate change and progress.
There is something that I must say to all young people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of good governance and leadership: in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for leadership by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. Let us not lose our values along the way.
This does not only apply to those seeking to be in the political space, it also extensively covers people across all sectors. Our collective efforts go a long way in transforming the nation. It is our call.
In the words of Martin Luther King “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” Let us be that light.
I have a dream, which I am ready to fight for. So, should you.
Believe and Dare to Dream!