Friday, May 19, 2017

The choir of doom

There is a measure of satisfaction -- I'm not sure how much -- to be derived from being a member of the Wring Our Hands in Despair Choir which sings of the great wonders Kenya can achieve if only fewer Kenyans were selfish, corrupt, lazy or any manner of other ills. Typical of the hymns by this choir is is this refrain,
If only a quarter of the energy spent on schemes to scam Kenyan taxpayers was redirected towards uplifting them tungekuwa mbali sana.
We are now reduced to a nation of wishful thinkers. If this or that or the other was OK, Kenya will be OK. If some one else does the work that needs to be done, Kenya will be OK. 

One of the most remixed hymns by the choir is entitled "Kenya must unleash its true potential". This hymn is sung with certainty and vigour. It is so popular that it forms the stump speech of every Kenyan politician worth their salt, every business tycoon who wants to look like the sage everyone claims they are, every wannabe guru with a dream to sell. Kenya's potential is always the responsibility of someone else to unleash. It is some animal instinct that we shall unlock tomorrow.

The most dirge-like hymns, however, are the ones that evoke the Truth: that Government is a feckless, corrupt parasite, hellbent in stealing as much of our taxes as it can get away with, borrow from international sugardaddies (and steal) as much as it can without a sound fiscal plan, engage in colossal acts of wastage with a view to creating opportunities for sacred cows in the private sector to profit, and whittle away at our god-given (or natural) rights like a termite army hollowing out a wooden granary. I think of these as Nihilists' Battle Hymns because they are designed to sow enervating despair because, as well know, in the end, Government shall prevail.

What the choir epitomises is not so difficult to discern: fewer and fewer Kenyans, whether they are  members of the middle classes or the working classes or even the elite, are interested in doing the necessary civic work to build a great society. The most important apsect of their lives is the opportunity to say that things are going to hell in a handbasket and that those doing the necessary work are the ones who are sending things to hell. But as we have learned, a single "mad" Omtatah does not a civic revolution make, and a single "intense" Boni does not a civic reawakening make.

Proof of this opinionated apathy is all around us: the majority of the uncivilised riff-raff of this City are shameless litterbugs no matter that the majority of them are formally "educated", hold down good jobs, live in good neighbourhoods and are people to be respected. They are all shameless litterbugs. But it is the murder of three children in this madness we call electioneering that tells me that Kenyans are not interested in anything that requires them to take a stand.

Children don't just vanish and their remains recovered from water bodies without someone seeing. I have no problem with fathers and mothers murdering their political rivals; that's the way they choose to play the game. But with the murder of children for political ends, it is time to draw the line. If you wring you hands one more time and say how terrible it is and how you want to unleash Kenya's potential and how you think that Kenyans should do more to stop political violence...

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