Kenyan rapper Kennedy Ombima, popularly known as King Kaka, and social entrepreneur Kennedy Odede have joined global activists who sent an open letter to the world, demanding leaders’ commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The two joined globally acclaimed activists including Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson in signing the letter released on Thursday.
“Dear world leaders, This is an emergency,” the document states.
“We are activists for different causes from across the world, writing as one for the first time to demand your immediate action in this critical year.”
The activists note a commitment made five years ago during a United Nations function at which leaders agreed to be part of the global goals for sustainable development.
They describe this as “a historic plan to end extreme poverty, conquer inequality and fix the climate crisis”.
However, they note, little has been done towards meeting the commitments.
“Our climate is heating up. Natural disasters are increasing. Millions [are fleeing] their homes. Children suffer without vital food and healthcare. Activists are murdered for their views. Girls and women are refused an education and subjected to discrimination and violence,” the letter states.
The people behind the open letter also created an online portal where any person with a similar opinion can append a signature, thereby join their call.
It filled up by Friday evening after the target of 2,020 — symbolic of this year — was met.
Mr Odede said he got involved in the movement because of the challenges that residents of Nairobi’s Kibra slums face.
“I grew up in the largest urban slum in Africa, where the dual challenges of extreme poverty and climate change trapped families like mine in a struggle to survive,” he told the Nation.
“The global goals are the defining issues of our generation, so as a young person, I jumped at the chance to be involved.”
Asked which of the issues raised he would like Kenya to prioritise Mr Odede chose inequality.
“Inequality is a growing issue in Kenya, where the economy has grown steadily but many communities are left behind,” he said.
“My hope is for the Kenyan government to work hand in hand with vulnerable communities, especially in urban slums, recognise their needs of those trapped in survival mode, too often without access to basic human rights and services.”
King Kaka was not immediately available for comment on the initiative.
However, given his recent song Wajinga Nyinyi, that touched on several problems plaguing Kenya, it is apparent he is positioning himself as an entertainer with a stand.
The activists hope that as 2020 starts, world leaders will “kick-start a decade of action”.
“We need you to act faster. To find the finance. To track implementation. To unlock radical solutions. We are watching you. And we will fight every day, for people, for planet,” they state in their letter.
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