These briefings were
geared to promoting a fair, peaceful and credible election.
First who or what is Mkenya Daima ?
Mkenya Daima is a
campaign that was inspired by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance
or KEPSA but which brings together Faith Based Organisations (FBOs),
Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Civil Society
Organisations (CSOs), Vision 2030, the business community and
the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) in an
alliance that allows them to create common messaging and ideas
to promote peaceful coexistence.
The dividend for
this peaceful coexistence is the long term prosperity for the
These are indeed
noble goals but which are challenging to promise and deliver to
The campaign is
going through phase four since it was started in 2012. One of
the most notable manifestations of the campaign is the song
“Tushangilie Kenya” or which the promoters fondly refer to as
“the Mkenya Daima song”.
If you haven’t heard
it then search for it on any of the search engines on the
internet and listen to it.
It is a truly
patriotic song that has slowly grown in acceptance and is now
played by most of the service bands, played in weddings and in
many functions as a warm up or as background music.
The song was
originally composed by Mwalimu Wesonga in the era of President
Moi and lay lost in the history of that period.
For most Kenyans it
sounded like most of the Moi era songs that were heavily laced
in praise of the then President of the country.
However, as I was
told by the chairman of the Mkenya Daima campaign, when they
were looking for a neutral song, one of the members of the team
suggested this song and having listened to it over and over
again late into an evening during a planning retreat the team
warmed up to the song.
They approached the
composer who generously agreed to donate the song towards the
campaign. It was rewritten and rehashed a bit by a team led by
Mwalimu Wesonga and then recorded in early 2012.
It has since then
been tweaked slightly and has become a very catchy and popular
tune at government and other functions. It has displaced the old
favourites in the service bands which have been the song “Kenya
Chi Yetu” – a Fadhili William song which also had its vintage
roots around the time of independence and “Harambee Harambee” by
So with the song out
of the way, what else is the visible side of Mkenya Daima ?
Starting in 2012 as
a lead up to the election the team started phase one of the
campaign called My Kenya is.
This was to build up
of a sense pride in what we as Kenyans would like to see our
It was mainly an
awareness campaign to publicise the initiative.
The second phase of
the campaign was called My Kenya is not…
This was to
celebrate what Kenya has achieved and also to handle the
negatives that create division and reduce the esteem of the
population in the eyes of peer countries and communities.
The third phase was
My Kenya will be….
This was to
introduce and reinforce the concept that just as we have rights
as citizens of Kenya and the world, we also have
Most of us citizens
had been very vocal about our rights – haki yetu – but very few
of us had accepted that with those rights come responsibilities.
These were mainly
defined by the values that are enshrined in the Constitution of
Kenya, which also lays out the rights, but we had chosen not to
be vocal about them because they cannot be guaranteed or
provided by others.
Responsibility is a
personal thing but whilst demanding rights may be personal, the
provision is most often by third parties hence was an easy
The net result of
all this was that by the time the third phase of Mkenya Daima
was being rolled out towards the end of twenty twelve, the
political class had changed from forever war and doom mongering
to actually preaching peace during the political campaigns.
This was a
significant change from previous elections.
The politicians had
heard from all quarters, be it in church, mosque or gurdwara;
harambee meetings or other social gatherings; seminars and
training events – the message of peaceful elections was being
repeated by wananchi in all forums and it would have been stupid
of an astute politician to ignore what they were hearing.
And so we had
relatively peaceful elections.
It was a first time
for elections to be held under the new Constitution of Kenya.
The impact of
devolution has nor been felt and there was great optimism in the
Now five years on,
the landscape of running a devolved country has become a lot
clearer and the stakes are high all round. Positions which are
viewed as those with power to either extort or “eat” are very
There is one ward or
Member of the County Assembly (MCA) position which has attracted
thirty two candidates!
So even as we attend
campaign rallies, discuss politics and engage in the political
debating, it is important that we remember that the ideologies
and affiliations that we have are not necessarily the only ones
that can work.
They are purely an
alternative that we have chosen.
We must respect that
other people have views and choices which they similarly
fervently believe in. There are also those who have no strong
views or affiliations.
They have to be
respected as well.
If we all accept
this then we can approach political options from a mature and
sane point of view.
We can indeed have
an election that will be peaceful.
It is us who will
cause it to be peaceful – not the candidate, not the political
party and not the government of the country.
As Kachumbari says,
the responsibility for peaceful elections lies squarely with us
individually and collectively