Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Nani atachomwa na chai moto?

How many times have we seen this movie? Some calamity befalls some far-flung place. Everyone says that "If it happens here, we are not prepared to deal with it." Then it happens here. And it turns out that we are not prepared. We saw it with Mad Cow. We saw it with Bird Flu. We saw it with Ebola. We are seeing it with Corona Virus. Different script, same movie.

This virus has a frighteningly high mortality rate. It is the new Grim Reaper of viruses. You get it, you almost certainly will die. So why does it seem as if the Ministry of Health and the frightening machinery at its command seems unable or unwilling to step up and take charge? Because, and I can't believe that the script hasn't changed in a decade, there are tenderpreneur wars to wage. It's as if these people can't walk and chew Big-G at the same time.

Meanwhile, that model of overreach is doing its thing again. This time the unhappy targets of the Kenya Film Classification Board are the owners, operators and crews of the matatu sector. Few of us have any love lost for matatuists. Matatu crews are rude, crude, loud, violent and bring a new meaning to risk-taking. But despite all that, in Nairobi anyway, they transport millions of commuters to and from work in the most cost-effective and efficient, though mightily discomfiting and uncomfortable, way possible. So when they are accosted by the Boys in Blue in the name of "bringing sanity back to the matatu sector" on account of the allegedly lewd and lascivious offerings on the screens mounted in their PSVs, there is a smidgeon of sympathy for them. KFCB, and its Cristian zealot of a chief executive, continue to demonstrate the virtues of misdirection - a savage virus is barreling down on us, but it is more important for the State to be seen to be waging war on "immorality" in the PSV sector because that will keep everyone safe. This shit is no longer funny.

If that wasn't enough, it turns out that a former member of the Cabinet with a passing acquaintance with formal education managed to parlay the connections his former high office afforded him into a windfall worth several zeros. His escapade has managed to ensnare men and women holding high offices in sensitive sectors. The speed with which his benefactors and enablers have distanced themselves from him is impressive, but not as impressive as how loudly the story has been pushed - anything, it seems, to push corona virus Chinese emigrants from the front pages, it seems.

The cherry on top of this shit sundae? Blowing Bridges Initiative. Honestly, where does one begin with this demonseed? We had a whole year of BBI "public engagements". Then a massive party at Bomas where misimamo yalitangazwa. Honestly, in my naïveté, I thought that the Bomas party would be the end of it, akina Orengo, Jr, Wako and other Legal Eagles would be deputised to draft constitutional amendment bills and shit like that, and we would be presented by damp squib legislative proposals the would be laughed out of Bunge in the kawaida manner. Shows how foolish I have become over the past three years that BBI still has legs. Seeing how friends and allies are stabbing each other in the back, I can see us getting saddled with another Government of National Unity pretty soon. I'd laugh out loud if I wasn't cowering in my office avoiding my clients and their impossible demands. (Can you imagine one of them wants a three-hundred-page, two-hundred-and-seventy-paragraph draft in a week? Some kinds of idiocies are to be avoided for the sake of ones sanity.)

It is rumoured that when the National Rainbow Coalition ascended to the top of the greasy pole of Kenyan politics, a poll showed Kenyans to be the most optimistic people on Earth. The other day, someone on Twitter asked why Kenyans were so damn angry all the time. It is interesting that no one challenged the premise of her question. The reasons are not that hard to find. Almost all of them are tied to the antics of men and women who see nothing immoral with shilling for foreign "investors" while walala hoi are on the receiving end of all that is evil in this world. The question of when the pot will boil over is moot. The only unknown is whether the scalding fluids will affect all of us or just the vulnerable among us.

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