Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my turn to ‘Face the Nation’. Our popular and powerful cousin is coming to town and we are justifiably excited. This is our time to address, pontificate, analyse and discuss everything about #POTUS. I therefore take liberty to make my address to the Nation of Kenya.
However, and which is also my reason for writing this note, I fear that we may be expecting too much from this homecoming of sorts, which journalists have billed ‘the first ever visit by a sitting US President to Kenya’.
It is no little wonder that in the last few days, we have had all manners of wish lists calling out for Obama’s attention. This ranges from the Kogelo chap asking for US-made shoes, to the Siaya Governor who wants a university, paediatric hospital and power plant. Add in the President, who is asking for help in fighting terrorism and enhancing trade between Kenya and the US. Then there are the opposition leaders who want to enlist his help in tackling graft and entrenching good governance. It is hard being Obama!
Truth of the matter is that it is not #POTUS or any other outsider, with the solutions to these many problems that afflict us. Remember the maxim ‘African solutions to African problems’? That is what I am talking about.
Granted, Obama is the President of the world’s largest economy and Leader of the Free World, and even has family ties to the Great Land of Kenya. However, this is not ground enough to inundate him with our problems to the very minutiae.
I am convinced that if we were to look carefully within us, we would find solutions to these many problems that we think it requires #POTUS to solve. For instance, do we really need him to get us shoes for individuals, or even build a hospital in the county of his father’s birth? We will never become the globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life we envision by the year 2030, with this kind of mindset. It is time to decolonize our minds.
We have incredible examples of great work that is already being done by Kenyans for Kenyans. Take Nailab for instance, the startup incubator that is helping tech enterprises unlock their potential. All we need to be asking of ourselves and our leadership is how to scale these kinds of initiatives to increase impact.
Brothers and Sisters,
As the clock ticks towards the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which is the main reason for #POTUS’ trip, let us make the most out of it; but not to expect freebies or magic from him or the entrepreneurs and other attendees who will be in town at the weekend. IN this regard, a huge shout out to the enterprising Kenyans who are taking advantage of the hype to sell merchandise and make money.
Go ye and conquer the world when it comes to town at the weekend!