#FormNiGani is a campaign that’s been running for the past two weeks on social media, trying to get Kenyans to think about their futures and what steps they need to take now to get to the futures they want.
They staged an entire production on the day the campaign started, with a ‘visit’ from the president of Kenya’s future - a pregnant woman, who did not speak much, so as to not alter the course of time. They even had a newspaper of the future, talking about how Kenya’s curriculum was being studied by American specialists so they can duplicate it; there was a Kenyan musician performing at Coachella, and voting, from the future, in Kenya, is done via smartphone.
The thing is, to me, these things seem so very attainable. In spite of how Kenya’s leaders seem incredibly intent on running this country to the ground, still, we rise. Kenyans are by far some of the most innovative, inventive, adaptive – and funny – people on the planet. For some reason we thrive in spite of corruption. We beat through bureaucracy. We work, even when hampered by inefficient systems. If we wanted this to be our future, it could be – simply because what we’ve done so far seems almost impossible as is. Think of M-Pesa – our repeatedly touted success story, students from Strathmore Law School beating students from Harvard and a functional free healthcare system in Machakos.
It is our lack of planning that’s stopping us, and ourselves; how we think about the future, what we think, and how we don’t plan for it. It’s the systems, and the thought that needs to go into what we’re doing next. I wonder, 50 years from now, if newspapers will still be talking about scandals. I wonder if I’ll be alive to see it, or whether the potentially toxic chemicals that people keep putting into food will finally do us all in. I wonder if people would ever be willing to vote in a female president, considering how Kenyan men think about leadership and gender. I wonder if Central Bank will be able to put out new money, and actually have the stock to support it; I wonder if we’ll finally be able to ban plastic bags and give solidly environmentally feasible alternatives that don’t just transfer money from one person’s pocket to another.
I have a dream for Kenya, too – that one day, the systems will actually work for the people, not against them. I can’t wait to see laws that favour all Kenyans of all types of all ages, across the many definitions of what a Kenyan is. I can’t wait for thought and planning to be part and parcel of being an active citizen in this country – whether for voting, or reproductive choices, or just within our own homes, our own ethics, our own circles. I want Kenyans to have the choice to choose what is better for them, not having to be alchemists to create gold from whatever rubbish we are handed. We can have that in this lifetime, because the resources are available. What we have to work with is more than enough – if we start thinking about how we can create that gold, starting now.