I must say Justus Siage, in this book presents creativity at its best. Writing in form of a book in form of letter is a rare approach in this part of the world. The form of the book is attractive and the substance is captivating.
Most of the issues raised are real, tangible and can be related to, not only by Kenyan readers but as well a large segment of Africans across the continent. While most concerned citizens choose to raise the same via newspaper articles that are read and later use to wrap meat, the author opted for a more permanent form: a book.
A plus for the author is the choice of recipient of the letter. He knew well enough that the Prime Minister would still be in politics even after the expiry of the term of the Coalition Government with President Mwai Kibaki. The matters raised in the Letter to the Prime Minister remain as relevant today as they were in the days of the Coalition of Government. Moreover, the public, whose grievances are the subject of the book, have not been kept in the dark. The book is available to everyone. This, I must say, is a special (and perhaps the best) private (open) letter. The cover photo is marvelous.
Justus Siage does not talk about what he heard from a political analyst nor does he present information gotten from secondary sources. He writes about things he, like many a Kenyan citizen, personally experiences. That alone not only renders his work legitimate but also takes care of the weight to associated concerns. A good example he gives that of Kisumu City which experiences persistent water shortages despite sitting next to the largest fresh water on the African continent!
One philosophical lesson he fronts and on which I will research further is the view that “Kenya’s problems are not legal but ethical”. Laws have been amended, repealed and perpetually overhauled, but that has not solved a thing. Corruption remains intact (and even becoming more entrenched) and the environment is degrading as usual. I am inclined to believe that lack of ethics is at the core of this.
The author is also alive to the fact that he is addressing a distinguished public figure, at the centre of power and one in a position to make use of that power to bring change. Besides careful choice of words, Mr. Siage broadens his distresses as to cater for everyone in the society. From politics to traffic, education to electricity, water to roads and all, the author must be having a big heart for all.
The only undoing of the book, which is a small issue, is the introduction part. Most readers judge a book by the first page and it is my opinion that he ought to have done away with it. He should have gone straight to the latter. That aside, I look forward to his next release.
Jim Asudi is currently studying law at the University of Nairobi. He hails from Kisumu County, and went to Rangwe Junior Academy prior to proceeding to Kanga High School. Jim has a great passion for literature and an irresistible drive to change the society through writing. He has several pieces he would like published, including a play and a collection of short stories.
*Letter to the Prime Minister (ISBN:9781926906089) can be found in major bookshops in Kenya as well as online stores such as amazon.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.