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Why Kenya Should Consider Changing Her Name

Albert is an experienced columnist who sees things in a different dimension. His well-researched content never disappoints, enjoy.

An awsome Kenyan painting.

An awsome Kenyan painting.

What is in a name?

Words have meanings and names have power. In almost all societies today, in all the 195 countries in the world every child is entitled to a name. The Children Rights International Network CRIN articulate the need for every child to have a name and acquire a nationality.

Article 7 sets out children's right to be registered immediately after birth, to a name, nationality and - as far as possible - to know and be cared for by their parents. It requires States Parties to fulfil these rights in accordance with other national and international obligations, especially where children would otherwise be stateless.

I am particularly concerned about the name. In Kenya, Article 53 Section 1(a)of the Constitution 2010 gives every child the right to a name. In the case of L.N.W. v Attorney General & 3 others (2016) eKLR, the court declared that;

"all children born out of wedlock shall have the right and or liberty to have the names of their fathers entered in the births registers."

A name symbolises possession, It is only when I own something and fully own it that I can grant it my name. A name means you are legally entitled to the property at hand. Rick Riordan, the lightning thief, summed up this debate in absolute wisdom when he said " names have power"

Makau Mutua a celebrated US-based lawyer has openly come out to give his nuggets of wisdom on the names "We name our children because they are of us, and at some level “belong” to us, although we don’t own them. But they are our charges until they become adults. That’s why naming is an act of power and authority. He, or she, who names another has power and authority over that which is named,"

Kenya is still a white man's country.

I am still adamant that Kenya is not independent, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga said it in better words, " not yet Uhuru" Whether it was from a political standing or whichever basis I wholeheartedly agree. It beats sense how we still use a name given to us by our colonisers, It is unthinkable how the same people who tormented our forefathers still dictate our lifestyle by us sheepishly using their name.

Maybe I am speaking to a generation that does not know there was bloodshed for you to be where you are. Up to date, The number of Africans killed in the uprising is a subject of controversy. Officially, the number of Mau Mau and other rebels killed was 11,000, which includes 1,090 convicts hanged by the British administration. Ironically just 32 white settlers were killed in the eight years of emergency.

57 years after independence, "Independent Kenya" still goes around begging for loans from those who exploited our resources and got rich. We are living the dreams of our colonisers. Kenya is what the white man called the country. Europeans named us to demonstrate their power and authority over us.



A native kenyan looking after cattle.

A native kenyan looking after cattle.

Kenya is what the white man called the country. Europeans named us to demonstrate their power and authority over us.

Why Kenya will not be the first country to go this route.

Many African countries have, however, undergone total or partial name changes since achieving independence. Namibia (South West Africa), Botswana (Bechuanaland), Mozambique (Portuguese East Africa), Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), and even the landlocked Lesotho (Basutoland) all changed their names shortly after the fall of colonial rule.

South Africa is also in advanced discussions to have her name changed to Azania. Just across our border, Tanganyika joined with Zanzibar to become Tanzania.

Outside Africa, Burma changed her colonial given name to Myanmar, Cambodia returned to her name after Vietnam had initially renamed her to The People's Republic of Kampuchea.

Kenya must stop intellectual surrender to Europe and the West. Should we then continue to use that name? What’s Kenya’s etymology, and why cling to it?

The chains to indipendence.

The chains to indipendence.

Kenya must stop intellectual surrender to Europe and the West. Should we then continue to use that name? What’s Kenya’s etymology, and why cling to it?

This will be our first step torwads our renaissance

I know Kenya will always be Kenya, corruption will always thrive well in front of police stations, leaders will steal even money meant to help the sick, judges will always make verdicts based on the lump sum you are willing to offer, you will win an interview based on connections and not qualifications. This is Kenya, where the boy bites the dog instead of the dog biting the boy. Wonders happen in this 580,367 km² piece of land.

I cannot guarantee after this we will be a developed country, neither can I guarantee we will become a major exporter in agricultural produce ( a position we ought to hold) I cannot assure 100% employment rates to our youths. But I know we will have renewed hopes and aspirations.

Kenyans need to embrace visionary leadership under our new name. Some years ago we changed the uniform of our policemen, nothing has changed. I saw somebody express his disappointment in social media saying what has changed is the size of the pockets which have been tailored to hold more bribes. Zimbabwe changed her name but is still stuck in economic problems. We need sheer leadership in our new name.

Kenyan athletes carrying their flag in a pst event.

Kenyan athletes carrying their flag in a pst event.

© 2021 Albert Mungai

Comments

MG Singh from UAE on August 01, 2021:

It was painful reading this article and shows a inferiority complex. By changing a name can Kenya prosper? I don't think so.

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