The world as we know it, exists in its current form due to a number of intervening factors and key among them is this; media freedom and the freedom of expression. Africa is indeed rising and it we have to borrow any precedents from our more advanced brothers then we must cheris, among other things, the rights and freedoms enshrined ‘ m our constitutions. We must allow the population to talk among themselves, to the governing class, and even beyond our countries’ borders.

Kenya is no exemption. A few years ago, one Bitange Ndemo (in his capacity as the minister in charge of all things IT) introduced us to his dream of a Silicon Savanah. A dream that other techpreneurs like Erik Hersman had been nursing in silence for quite some time. We, embraced that dream and as a country refuse to be dissuaded, despite all the false starts, that that dream is impossible to achieve! A testament to our resilience; perhaps, or ignorance; most likely.

Ignorance because we cannot even get close to achieving such an ambitious goal unless, as a country we learn a few fundamentals:

  • We will never develop a thriving IT industry unless we allow the players within the industry sufficient rights to experiment, talk and innovate
  • The solution to many of our problems will be sowed by the private sector and not our cash-strained government. As such, the government must accept to take the back seat and allow the private sector to develop by providing an enabling environment free from intimidation .
  • Ultimately, we must learn that we are the government!We owe it to ourselves and our children to ensure that this country works. ln the event that the above-mentioned conditions are not met or the ruling elite is unwilling or unlikely to provide sufficient freedoms to ensure we, someday, live that dream we have so dearly held then we as the the people, the constitutional bearers of absolute power must do what we must, demand that our basic rights and freedoms be duly respected.
Today is Internet Freedom day. In the recent past, several online content creators have been arrested over allegations of defaming public officias even as a politician was been pardoned over hate speech allegations in the name of national cohesion! This is a worrying precedent and should the trend continue, then l must surmise that our dreams of a Silicon Savannah are but a mirage, and a fast-fading one at that!

Either we shall either be forced to give up such lofty Ndemo-ish ideas and dreams or as a government, GIVE UNTO OURSELVES the kind of leadership that will enable us achieve them. Either way, something’s or someone’s gotta give!