The Poor People’s Campaign

The poor people’s campaign was organised by Martin Luther King in 1968. This was meant to raise awareness of the level of poverty that had attacked the people from diverse backgrounds. Note: This had nothing to do with skin colour, it was meant for all, the Asians, blacks, whites, Mexicans etc.

The lack of financial freedom was extreme and dire, poor African-Americans, especially women suffered from cases of racism and sexism. A committee was formed( the committee of 100) demanding economic bills of rights such as the ability of ordinary people to ‘ play a truly significant role’ in the Government.

In court, the case was defended in referral to the slave labour used in the production of America’s capital and argued that the slave population did not have the same opportunities as the whites who controlled political and economic resources. The economic bill of rights was never passed.

The campaign however, did produce some changes, more money for free and reduced lunches for school children, surplus commodities to the nation’s thousand poorest countries, food stamps were expanded.

Flash forward to 2018, the scene is Kenya, the setting is an indirect combat between the civilians and the Government, the people themselves and finally the internal non-physical, and sometimes physical war within the Government. You see, free Kenyan education was meant to make everything better in every way possible. I can say it with a straight face that the Mwai Kibaki’s Government had the best intentions of a greater Kenya, a better academic system, clean towns, home for orphans etc.

I am certain that they had the best intentions when they gathered the orphans and rehabilitated them, took them to schools and fed them. I loved the idea, I loved the execution of the 2002 PNU manifesto. I loved that they tried to keep their word. A few years later, we are back to where we started, free education is not that free anymore, Some civilians are still requesting and some are begging for funds to take their kids to secondary schools and universities. THE STREET KIDS AND FAMILIES have flooded back in our major cities threatening the ordinary Kenyan with pocket knives and faeces.

The public hospitals are not that public anymore. The doctors are being paid so poorly that some have resulted to conning the poor patients for lab tests and medicine. The NHIF created for the common mwananchi is barely affordable to everyone. The Kenyatta hospital is flooded with patients to be released who cannot be released due to lack of payment fees. It is said with arrogance that poor people lack due to laziness, but according to me, I think people living below the poverty line not only in Kenya, but Africa at large, are the most hardworking people. They carry out all the hard, unbearable work while the big fish pocket the extra change. Some big officials in our Government have a genuine interest in making changes and launching development projects, but the few , THE FEW! who cannot help themselves are greatly sinking this ship.

The lack of better opportunities should never be compared to laziness. The blame cannot be based entirely on the Government, but also our daily movements, constantly asking ourselves what we are doing for our country.

All this made me think about the poor people’s campaign, I genuinely think we need one.

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