I want you for a moment to imagine you were involved in the Naivasha - Karai road carnage. You are a typical Kenyan middle class family with a good job, a sustainable income, your kids attend a reasonable private school & you have a reliable medical cover for you & your family from a reputable insurance firm like, say, Resolution health, GA or Jubilee.
Imagine yourself driving a sleek SUV with your family going back home to Nairobi after traveling to a family function in say Nakuru. Of course you always use private transport means because the public transport system is chaotic, unruly & unreliable.
Then, traffic piles up, you hear a loud bang & see a huge ball of fire coming your way at break neck speed. Before you know what is happening, your vehicle gas tank explodes & all of you get severely burnt.
Some bodaboda guys - the guys we always despise - try to salvage the situation but cannot do anything much. Somehow, you manage to get out of the rubble that used to be your treasured car alive with 75% burns on your body but all your family members die instantly.
You are taken to the nearest hospital, which is Naivasha Level 5 hospital, a public hospital. Your medical cover isn’t of much help here. On arrival at the hospital in sub/unconscious state, you realize the doctors are on strike & being a long weekend they’ve travelled to their upcountry homes. Even if they were to be human, they cannot be there in an hour or so.
As if that’s not enough, the hospital’s capacity is strained. The beds in the wards aren’t enough & some patients are even sleeping on the floor. The ICU - where critically ill patients like you should be - only has a few beds & they are full.
Meanwhile, your relatives & friends are being treated to some blame games. They realize the lorry ferrying the explosive chemicals was using the wrong road. Never mind it had passed many police officers on that road before the accident. Your relatives too realize that the accident was caused by some ill-placed bumps that weren’t marked. Never mind that there are those charged with the responsibility of ensuring roads (and bumps thereon) are built up to safety standards & the bumps are painted as well as warning signs placed a few metres before.
They wish the public hospital to which you’ve been admitted had enough medicine including the powerful pain killers like Morphine, they wish the wards had enough beds, they wish the ICU had enough beds & machines, they wish the medics weren’t on strike, they wish the number of medics was more than we currently have & wish that all other facilities like ambulances were intact but theirs is just that; wishful thinking!
Now, I know you are wondering why I had to give you that long tortuous story. You know, many times some of us make political updates on social media that are oftentimes quite uncomfortable to many of you.
Majority of you hate politics & can all agree that politics is dirty. When some of us try to hold the ruling government to account, our posts aren’t understood by the same masses whose consciousness we seek to awaken through social media. The masses think we are “playing politics” - whatever that means, or we plainly hate the government of the day. They think that the matters we raise are driven by malice, or a political agenda or maybe we are sympathisers of the opposition.
What was intended to be a sober debate, that seeks to expose the problems that ordinary Kenyans face often degenerates into a hurling of words contest between sycophantic government & opposition supporters, each accusing the other of “politicizing” important issues or how the issue is being used to gain political mileage by one side against the other.
Somewhere in between, one side will brag how they’ll rule for the next few decades & how the other side will never win the presidency. To the supporters of these tribal outfits, its all about attaining or retention of power by their respective tribal chiefs but nothing to do with solutions to the problems the country faces.
Any different opinion is met with brutal insults as these supporters try to shore up support for their tribal gods - the same political class that is responsible for the mess we find ourselves in & that does not even care about the common ordinary Kenyan even if (s)he comes from the same tribe!
Now, some of us have decided to do the little thing we can do to change the country. Through online advocacy, we seek to make the public aware of the mess they find themselves in & who is responsible for that. The most heartbreaking thing is seeing a Kenyan look at you & think you have some personal vendetta against the ruling class. These Kenyans think you are being a pessimist, a hater & a rebel without cause.
They fail to understand why only you alone cannot see the many good things happening to/in the country like how we are building the SGR, how the economy is growing by 6%, how international investors want to invest in Kenya (even if many are leaving in droves), how roads are being constructed & how electricity is being taken to the villages. In this discussion the costs of these projects will not feature anywhere & an attempt to bring the cost issue is met by the same political rhetoric I mentioned above. “You are against development, your presidential candidate will never be president, that is propaganda from the opposition!” they tell you.
One wonders of what use is an economy growing at 6%, good roads & electricity in villages if we have no drugs, medics are on strike despite the CBA being signed three years ago & issuing a strike notice. Pray how would the SGR help the victims of the Naivasha tragedy? Does it mean we cannot get everything right like equipping hospitals & building infrastructure at the same time?
The political class meanwhile from both sides (including that person who is said will never be president!) loots the public coffers dry, they buy themselves helicopters so that they won’t die of an inferno like that of Naivasha, & treat their loved ones abroad! They polarize the nation to mask their corrupt dealings & disrupt you the sheeple from demanding better public goods & services from them.
It is in this line of thought that some of us choose to write what we do. Not because we have an inherent hatred for someone or some people, not because we have been paid to do it, not because we consume a lot of propaganda or because we are plainly stupid, negative pessimists who criticize without offering any solution - but because pointing out where things are wrong is the first step towards finding a solution.
So, next time you see someone criticize your favorite politicians, especially those in authority & running the government of the day - kindly read, understand & think critically before you insult, accuse him/her of being a negative pessimist, misguided or how (s)he pretends to know everything but doesn’t provide solutions. Solutions will only be found once we know what the problem is.
Second, there’s a reason we pay taxes to those who are supposed to provide solutions. It’s time we asked, “Are they doing it?” If not remember all of us are in this sh*t together. Probably, if you had asked some of those who perished in the Naivasha tragedy about government looting, doctors strike, the state of our public hospitals & public transport system, majority would have answered you back;
- Why should I care about public transport? I don’t use it anymore. I have my own car.
Why should I care about the medics on strike? If doctors want more money, let them resign or go abroad!
3.Why should I care about the state of public hospitals? I’ve got private medical insurance for my family. I only go to (insert preferred private hospital name) hospital!
Such answers are given by ignorant people who believe in private solutions to public problems, without realizing that at times, circumstances are against you like I demonstrated in the Naivasha inferno.
With that good people, kindly make it your business to speak out against the ills in our society. Call their bluff even if they are from your tribe. Deny them leadership & make the country a better place for everyone.
How do you do it? Remember in the bible, God asked Moses what he had in his hand. He only had a stick & God used it to perform miracles. If you can read this, you most likely have a social media account.
Probably, that’s all you need to make a difference in the society.
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Somo la leo.
Social injustice is real. Powered by human greed and backed by selfish leadership. Economic slavery.
The more public social services are starved of economic resources, the bigger the opportunity pie gets for private sector, propagating the ever widening inequality, where the top 1% flourish as the bottom 99% are either languishing in poverty or desperately grinding to keep it at bay if only for today. It takes the intolerance of professionals to delay this shift, rather than look the other way and get back to the desperate hustle.
A good day to all talkers.