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Friday, May 20, 2011

Kenyans are a resilient lot; but for how long?

I woke up to this video and it just hit a chord with me. I looked at the guy, Aalam Wassef, and he speaks like many Kenyans I know.

For the first time in their lives, Kenyans queued for fuel. They raved and ranted, called the minister names, blamed the cartels on radio and TV, wrote commentaries, the crisis even made national headlines. Then they forgot about it, and now, life goes on.

But trust Kenya’s government. It knows how Kenyans behave. They talk a lot and do nothing. So, after the rant, Kenyans decided they’ll queue; those who could make money out of the crisis, made their millions and life goes on.

A look at North Rift, the country’s bread basket is a little of the same. I said here, someone was perhaps laying ground for the importation of maize later this year or early next year, following the shoddy delivery of seed and fertilizer to farmers. Kenyans have ranted about this; the government listened, tried to mollify them, I think, they forgot, life goes on.

Then, there’s been all this talk about corruption in courts. So today, the court makes a ruling that Kamukunji elections should be stopped. ODM, the party that prides itself as the party of the people, insists elections will go on and urges its supporters to turn out in large numbers to vote on Monday.

Well, impunity? Or what is it then?

Then the campaigns with government vehicles in Ikolomani and Kamukunji? Even the Interim Independent Electoral Commission just sits back and watches, complaining helplessly, issuing namby-pamby warnings.

I look at this blogger and the many bloggers in Egypt and imagine that the time is ripe for an Egypt in Kenya.

Like in Egypt, old men do get slapped by policemen the age of their kids. I may not have evidence of torture, but my policeman buddy told me that he metes out justice in the village—several uncountable lashes—to any person found breaking the law.

They rob Kenyans daily of their hard-earned cash; we’re promised better traffic and electricity management in Nairobi, but the traffic jams continue to bite as they steal and hoard fuel. The Kenya power and Lighting Company continues to be erratic.

We keep saying Kenya has a free and vibrant media and a strong civil society. This statements are repeated by every ambassador and foreign journalist. We know it’s true, but we’ve go nothing to show for it, apart from the fact that we let crooks govern the country.

The so-called activists are busy writing proposals and feeding off the broken corrupt system, where, for example, in the Kakamega-Mumias-Bungoma-Webuye Road in Western Kenya, bribe-taking traffic cops do it openly and have no fear of hiding.

Their salaries are meager, and they know it, but then, who said they’ll stop taking bribes when the pay is increased. It’s a messy place, but somehow, we live on.

Pundits look around and see hundreds of displaced people from the 2007 elections poll and predict a Armageddon in 2012 elections. Politicians, on their part, preen around acting as if nothing is going to happen. They keep playing the ethnic card for their benefit and amazingly some Kenyans swallow it. It is interesting and amazing at the same time.

I was talking to a colleague journalist and telling him about the greedy schemes in the country, why Dr Willy Mutunga is being opposed, and telling him about the politicians’ schemes to rob the exchequer. I was angry, but I always, get to laugh, really chuckle, when it gets to that point.

He was taken aback, and wondered, how I could laugh at it. I can’t cry; so I find it funny that Kenya is still surviving.

Like they say in this clip: “(Kenya) is divided into two categories: Those who have humour and their blood is light and those who don’t have humour and their blood is cold and heavy.”

I get angry, when rogue politicians are turned into heroes overnight, just because they tell you what you want to hear, or because they come from your ethnic community or because they gave you this handout or just because you hate the rest of the competitors, so you decide better a bad apple.

But, I am no Aalam Wassef or his gang of bloggers. I am just a concerned Kenyan and life continues. Meanwhile, trepidation continues as we inch towards 2012.

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