Nyeri 2022 gubernatorial aspirant Dr. Thuo Mathenge has vowed to push for the actualization of resolutions agreed upon at the inaugural Kikuyu Men's Conference held in Murang'a County on October 7. Dr. Mathenge, who was named patron of the group during the conference that was attended by hundreds of men from the central region, insists that issues discussed at the meeting can no longer be ignored since they touch the very soul of the Kikuyu community. Among the issues that were agreed upon were the need to restore the place of men in society, a return to the community's fast-dying cultural heritage, an all-out war against illicit brews within the region, and economic empowerment. Dr. Thuo now says they have already written to Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, imploring him to reintroduce the teaching of vernacular languages in lower primary schools as one way of safeguarding the country's diverse cultural legacies. 'One of the pertinent issues we need to revisit is the entrenchment of our traditional value system, which has been eroded to a great extent owing to the influx of Western ideals. One of the resolutions we passed during the conference was to compel the state to reintroduce mother tongue subjects in the lower classes in our schools. I plan to escalate the matter to the Education CS Ezekiel Machogu this Thursday (today) during the opening of the 2nd International Research Conference at the Nyeri National Polytechnic,' he said during the Inooro TV Ruciini talk show. The use of the mother tongue among many communities has been facing an aggressive onslaught from foreign languages owing to rural-urban migration and a young generation that is slowly giving up its traditional roots for alien cultures. Africa's celebrated literary icon, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, once quipped: 'If you know all, and I mean all, the languages of the world and you do not know your mother tongue, that is enslavement. If you know your mother tongue and add all the languages of the world to it, that's empowerment.' And how prophetic Ngugi's words were, if one was to sample how easily our communication has been to the level of code-switching! Today, hardly anyone seems interested in being identified by one's native language, a scenario that may soon spell a sure death knell to the mother tongue in the next few years. For instance, even though most of the people residing in Nyeri are predominantly locals, few, if any, employ the use of local dialect in their day-to-day transactions. The majority of the residents have completely ceased using the language they grew up conversing in and have embraced dialects that were once perceived as alien and, at times, a show-off. And for those unable to converse in English, Kiswahili urban Esperanto such as sheng synonymous with the youth has become the new norm. Dr. Thuo also wants men from the Mount Kenya region to help address the dwindling number of children being born in the region, which he describes as quite 'appalling'. He says that contrary to the long-held beliefs that the area remains the leader as far as population demography is concerned, this is erroneous and that the population of Kikuyus in the country has decreased by a shocking 20 per cent over the years. He now says the only way to save the community from a possible 'extinction' is to urge families to resort to the olden ways where men could sire as many as 15 children. 'Our population has, over the years, dropped by 20 per cent in the country. Should the one-man, one-vote, one-shilling policy be enacted, it would turn out to be a curse for us as a community. We are losing our position to others due to a lack of a united front and differences amongst ourselves. We have always been revered as a community due to our large numbers. Sadly, modernism and the adoption of Western practices such as family planning methods have reduced our numbers to shocking levels since few couples are willing to have large families,' he argued. Dr. Mathenge, who is the founder of BradeGate Foods Industries, also said the attendees of the conference agreed to partner with the government in fighting illicit brews in the entire Mount Kenya region by advocating for alternative ways of economic empowerment and shaming those engaging in the business. He has blamed the proliferation of proscribed brews into the Central region for the deterioration of the social and economic status of the residents, a situation he insisted must be fought at all costs. During the Kenol conference, in which Dr. Thuo was endorsed as patron, the members agreed to boost the population of the community by having a minimum of five children per man, promoting and teaching the Kikuyu language amongst our children, and establishing local cells in every village to be called village 12. They also vowed to adopt the Gikuyu slogan Unite, Cooperate, and Prosper as their rallying call to attain their non-political agenda.
Source: Kenya News Agency