© 2019 Building Bridges Initiative 

     bbi@citizensupport.go.ke

01

LACK OF NATIONAL ETHOS 

A nation is founded on a national ethos. This can only be established by common goals and aspirations. We need to build a common vision of Kenya and formulate the goals we want to pursue as a nation. To achieve this, we should

02

RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS

Kenyans have fought for their rights before and after independence and we have a very comprehensive Bill of Rights to protect these rights. However, we do not have a healthy regard for our responsibilities as citizens to promote our rights and those of others. We must realize that we are the wenye-nchi and take responsibility for our country. 

To ensure we all meet our responsibilities to self, family, community, and country, we should do the following. 

03

ETHNIC ANTAGONISM AND COMPETITION

Kenya is a nation of diversity and this has often led to misunderstanding and conflict. We need to find ways of managing our diversity particularly during the competition for power otherwise it will lead to our collective ruin. 

To prevent these ethnic conflicts in Kenya, and promote harmony and peaceful co-existence between persons of diverse ethnic societies, we should: 

04

DIVISIVE ELECTIONS

Elections in Kenya have become a curse. One year before every General Election, Kenya becomes tense, unsafe and economic activity stops. After every election, violence breaks out and lives are lost. Normalcy returns one year after elections. 

05

INCLUSIVITY

To build a stable nation, it is important that all people individually and as communities feel as part of the national life and feel included in the management of the country’s affairs. To enhance the participation of people in the national life; 

06

SHARED PROSPERITY

Prosperity is one of our national goals. We sing in our national anthem “raha tupate na ustawi”. We say “tuungane mikono pamoja kazini” to underline our intention to share our prosperity. Fifty-six years later, we have done better than our neighboring countries but we remain one of the world’s poorest countries and also one of the most unequal. 

07

CORRUPTION

Kenyans believe the system is rigged and that it rewards cronyism and corruption as opposed to production and hard work. Corruption is today the greatest risk to 

Kenya’s cohesion and security. Tackling corruption is the single important mission 

Kenya has today 

08

DEVOLUTION

The devolved system of government was aimed at decentralizing power and increasing access to services across the country. In terms of creating a major departure in governance in the country, it has largely been a success. However, it is frustrated by serious challenges which if not addressed will raise questions about its political and economic viability. 

To address these challenges, it is proposed as follows: 

09

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Kenyans told the Taskforce that they do not feel sufficiently safe and secure. From those who represented victims of terrorism to others victimized by domestic terrorism, mistreatment at the hands of security personnel, and a lack of trust in policing, millions of Kenyans do not feel as secure as they should.

COMMISSIONS AND CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES

1. Nairobi is the Capital city of the Republic. It houses the seat of all arms of 

Government. It is also an International city being the Third Global Headquarters of The United Nations. Nairobi is also a major diplomatic hub as many nations have located their representatives to bodies like the United Nations Environmental Program in the city. 

 

To maintain its special status as a global UN Headquarter and meet its obligation towards the United Nations and other diplomatic missions, Nairobi needs massive investments in infrastructure that the formula of the Commission for Revenue Allocation cannot accommodate. This means that Nairobi needs to be accorded a special status that would place on the National Government obligation to carry some functions in the City. Such special Status should not impede on the right of the people to representation at the Ward and Constituency levels. 

 

2. Separate the work of conducting anti-corruption investigations and promoting ethics. 

3. Strengthen and enhance the autonomy of the Directorate of Criminal 

Investigations and increase the amount of resources allocated to its work. 

4. Rationalize the mandate of regulatory bodies to eradicate duplication of roles and enhance efficiency. 

5. Make the Chairpersons of independent commissions to be the Chief Executive Officers 

6. Make half of all Commissioners to serve half-time except for the IEBC 

7. Consolidate the numerous administrative tribunals established by the various Statutes and set up the National Administrative Appeals Tribunal. 

NOTABLE ISSUES

As the task force went around the country, it made several observations which, though they may not fit into the issues listed in the terms of reference, are too serious not to mention. The following are the issues that the team felt they must speak to the people of Kenya frankly. 

1.    Kenyans lack common ideals and aspirations. The national bonds that Kenyans have are based on ethnicity and locality. We cannot create a nation until we identify goals that we pursue together and work towards a future that demands our collective sacrifice. 

2.    Kenya is running out of time. Our political and economic systems have failed. We have to change the way we are going if we are to avoid a catastrophic future. We are capable of doing so but we are our stumbling block. 

3.    The youth in Kenya are feeling excluded. Kenya is a nation of youthful persons. This increased population has come very fast and the country has not adjusted fast enough to cater to the concern of the majority of its population. The country today is at a generational standoff. 

4.    Kenyans do not trust their leaders, institutions, and systems. The country is suffering from a trust deficit. This has blocked any sense of patriotism as we cannot trust to surrender our ethnic identities and interests. 

5.    Kenyans disrespect the law at all levels. And this phenomenon is particularly evident with public officers. We have laws and policies but are unable to implement them. A lot of the problems facing this country are because we do not implement the laws that already exist. 

6.    In Kenya, there is no tomorrow, only today. In everything we do, we have little regard for the future of the country or its people. We spend public money without concern about whether Kenyans are getting the best value for their money. We do not bother to maintain public assets. We don’t preserve the environment and in fact, destroy it for immediate gains. 

7.    Kenya must nurture and promote its talented citizens. Though we love and celebrate our heroes, we do very little to assist them when they are struggling to achieve. Most of the Kenyans excelling internationally have done so by investing in themselves and competing for opportunities. 

8.    The Kenyan family is in crisis and we are suffering a failure of parentage. 

Children are going out of control. Parents had failed in their duties. There is a breakdown in traditional societal norms on raising/nurturing of children. There is a rise in suicide by young people, domestic violence, defilement of children and incest.  

9.    We must bake a bigger national cake and stop focusing on sharing a small one. Though our national anthem says “plenty be found within our borders”, the politics regarding prosperity dwells on sharing rather than creating. This is very destabilizing. As the population grows and the cake continues shrinking, conflicts are likely to increase and intensify. 

10. Kenyans feel let down by their leaders in all spheres of life. Kenya has a leadership crisis. Whether in the community or the religious organizations or politics, leaders in Kenya have failed and Kenyans are feeling let down. Kenyans believe that their leaders are the cause of their problems. Kenyans blame their leaders for corruption, divisive elections, ethnic conflict, etc. 

11. Public service in Kenya is a favor, not a right. Kenyans are complaining that public servants in all branches of government treat them arrogantly and that Kenyans have to plead or bribe for service. Public officers have yet to internalize that the power and authority assigned to them is a public trust that they are meant to use for the benefit of the people. There is a deep-rooted problem at the core of public service in Kenya. 

12. Kenyans are insensitive to persons living with disabilities. We look at disability as someone else’s curse. We regard persons living with disability as people condemned by fate and we have created a separate world for them to live in rather than struggle to integrate them into our society. Persons living with a disability are complaining that they were patronized by the rest of society. 

13. The problem is our software, not hardware. What is wrong with us Kenyans is more about our attitudes and behaviors rather than our environment and circumstances. But we never take responsibility for our failures. It is always someone else’s fault. We can’t fix Kenya until we first fix ourselves. 

14. Most injustices in Kenya are swept under the carpet. Kenya is yet to be a self-cleansing governance system. We still rely on an exhauster method of moral, ethical and governance accountability when dealing with abuse and injury inflicted on the people. The legal and constitutional institutions we have set up to keep the accountability system running on a day to day basis have been compromised. 

15. Kenyans feel insecure in their everyday lives. Whether out in public spaces or private places and even homes, Kenyans feel vulnerable to crime and violence from strangers and relatives.