Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Whose 24 hours is it?

We don't all have the same twenty-four hours. Some of us have a little bit more. This is not to deprecate the good fortune of those who have a bit more on that front. It is to acknowledge that in the lottery of life, there are winners, there are non-winners and there are losers - and that many of those holding the short end of the stick do so through no fault of their own. It isn't strictly "this is what it is" but an acknowledgment that the structures that make up the daily are not known to be fairly distributed or fairly accessible.

Many of us are happy enough to just make do. Our ambitions are to survive childhood traumas, enter into successful loving relationships, build a house huko ushago, and squirrel away a tidy sum for our old age, an old age which, if you are of the masculine persuasion if not gender, will be spent ogling nubile secondary school headmistresses and cracking naughty jokes with your bar-mates.

The majority though, especially in light of the havoc wreaked by the pandemic, live a life of a great many challenges, challenges exacerbated by selfish public policies designed to keep them in penury despite the blood and sweat they pour into personal industry. Industriousness never seems to turn into a leg up. Instead, it invites acute and unabashedly avariciously shameless attentions from the forces of law and order - the number of industrious-but-poor that are accosted by the blue-frocked forces of law and order as they bring home the bacon is simply staggering. The taxman is never far behind either - Pay As You Earn schemes for many of my industrious-but-benighted brethren is nothing short of daylight robbery.

So it sticks in the craw to watch as senior members of the political and economic establishment take the privileges we allow them for grated in the reckless way they do nowadays. Take for example the madness surrounding the gauche former governor of the capital city. Despite a youthful record of staggering disqualification, he has variously been a member of the National Assembly and Senate and an extremely popularly elected governor of the county. But despite it all, despite apparently amassing a great fortune, he has determinedly shat on the people he was supposed to lead to better days. He epitomises, in the most extreme sense, the disgraceful way his peers and former parliamentary colleagues treat the rest of us. But despite it all, he is no match for the crude ways more senior political officials treat us. The contempt they have for the rest of us is only matched by the recklessness with which they make decisions. Whether or not we are harmed in the bargain is no skin off of their noses.

I humbly put it to you that the reason why things are the way there are is the utter fecklessness of the thinking classes. I have borne witness to the pusillanimity of some of these that sit in ivory towers. One who claims the mantle of "professor", unearned, has taken to singing the praises of men determined to lay to waste the Kenyan academy that if we were to attempt to put daylight between his lips and his benefactors' arses, I fear we would come to a violently bad end. It is that bad. Those of us with the temerity to point out that the emperor is swanning about in the airy version of the finest finery that the House of Gucci can produce are treated like the unwanted crud that sticks to the bottom of your shoes when you walk through a badly-tended cow boma. We are more likely to attract the attentions of acronym agencies on one false pretext and another.

If proof were needed that we really don't have the same twenty-four hours, just witness the panic in millions of homes as the realisation falls on parents that the children they have been preparing to take the national exams were ill-served by the ten months they were at home and that only the children of parents with the additional time-saving ten thousand shillings or so per week for internet and other academic resources will sit for the exams and pass. While many of my neighbours' children had to contend with curriculum delivery that involved kabambe mobiles, their counterparts in the barely-still leafy bits of the city often enjoyed personalised tuition services. The poisoned fruits of the poisoned post-pandemic age will be borne for years to come and, I fear, the poison will kill us all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so very well written!