There is no doubt that the late Nelson Mandela was an exemplary leader.
The former South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95. South Africans and the entire world hold up Mandela as the founding father of true democracy in South Africa, once segregated along racial lines.
South Africa became a republic in 1961 but did not hold an election in which every adult in the country could vote until 1994.
Mandela began his fight against apartheid, which began in 1948, as a young man. The apartheid government sentenced him to life in prison for his political activism and he spent 27 years incarcerated.
Through national and international agitations, Mandela was released from prison in 1990, when he was 72 years old.
National unrest and civil strife built until the apartheid was dismantled, and Mandela was elected president in the country’s first multiracial election, in 1994. Mandela focused his efforts on diffusing racial and ethnic tensions and ending human rights abuse.
After serving one term as president, he decided not to run for the office again and instead focused his efforts on combating HIV/AIDS and poverty through a non-profit he founded, the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Many South Africans refer to Mandela as “the father of the nation.”
Fast forward to the current situation in Kenya today. Do we need a Mandela Moment? The straight answer is an emphatic NO.
Anybody claiming that Kenya needs a Mandela Moment is taking us for a ride. The political circumstances in South Africa of 1994 are very different from the political landscape on the Kenya of 2022.
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The 1994 south Africa that so badly needed a Mandela moment was characterized by racial discrimination by the white minority.
Our Mandela moments came in 1963, 1992, 2002, and recently in 2010 when we passed a new constitution that advocates for equity and equitable opportunities for all Kenyans.
Nelson Mandela could not live forever. It was therefore incumbent upon the South Africans to continue living the ideals of their late father.
No matter how good leaders are, they can never live forever. That is why succession is important. Succession is never retrogressive. Proper succession should always be from father to son, from an older generation to a younger one.
A country that puts its future in the older generation is a doomed country. The time for the youth has come. That is why I believe that Kenya now needs a Bobi Wine moment. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (born 12 February 1982), known by his stage name Bobi Wine, is a Ugandan politician, activist, singer, actor, businessman and philanthropist.
Bobi leads the People Power, Our Power movement in opposition to President Yoweri Museveni.
Bob Wine epitomizes the dreams of the downtrodden youths who are hopelessly littering our streets because our elders have refused to exit the state.
The youths who comprise over 65% of the nation’s population are languishing in indignity of poverty that has been brought about by high levels of unemployment.
This country needs a youthful re-awakening. The youths must now take up their rightful positions and steer the nation to greater heights. Time to use our young men and women as statistical data is gone.
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The older generation is synonymous with failed leadership, tribalism nepotism, and corruption.
A new broom sweeps clean.
The late Nelson Mandela did his part for which the world is forever grateful. Mandela himself did not want to stay in power forever thus he only went for one term.
It will, therefore, befitting to usher in young, new, and fresh leaders as Mandela himself did instead of using a Mandela moment for political mileage.
The Writer is a MA student in Project Planning & Management at the UoN.