We are in a sad, sad, period of Kenya’s history. Our hearts have been broken after losing loved ones in terror attacks. The dollar is having a field day against the Kenyan shilling, and corruption has gone through the roof. And with each episode, we look for leadership in the form of not just a government response, but also a national response that would comfort, guide, unite and inspire us to keep the faith. Instead, what we witness is a largely disjointed and incoherent response, as if government departments are reading from different scripts, and as if the Kenyan people do not deserve better.
The other day, I was doing my usual scrolling through twitter when I saw tweets about the launch of the Kenyan National Music Policy. The launch caught me by surprise because I did not hear about the event through my usual networks in music education. But later, I understood why. The so-called committee of experts set up by the Minister of Culture (a minister whose impact I am yet to see two years into his tenure) includes only popular and gospel singers, producers and government officers. There’s not a single music educator or scholar.
It appears that music educators and traditional music performers were conspicuously absent from the whole process of establishing the Music policy because the policy was all about the money. And politics. Which is the usual Kenyan story.
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