“Over 100 Kenyans died in the Sinai fire tragedy and their deaths have literally been dismissed like that of flies! Apart from the comical unison shedding of crocodile tears by politicians, no one really bothers to address the fundamental issues that underline the tragedy.
Do these politicians think the tragedy was an act of God? Isn’t it obvious there is a clear case of criminal negligence on the part of a number of government officials?”
-Ahmednassir Abdullahi, Sunday Nation, Sept 18, 2011
I am angry. I won’t lie to you. It’s not about anything else, but about the Sinai Fire. Maybe it is because I saw all those faceless, charred, dehumanized bodies. Maybe it is because I saw the indignity with which dead people were being treated to. Maybe it is because politicians were talking compensation (for dead people?). Maybe, it is because the counsellors walked to work and told me that this day will come and that I will need to face it.
Maybe it is because someone was incredibly juvenile that I reported the events in first-person, instead of reporting it (as an observer) like some political rally or those mundane press conferences. But how could I? You don’t see that many dead people and walk away as if it is just another story. No.
Maybe I am just thinking too much. Maybe it is because I am burnt out.
I know I need a holiday, that’s why I am taking four days today to go and chill out some place far far away. I may be grieving, but that's a personal matter.
Yesterday, I climbed Mt Longonot and circled the crater. Last weekend, I did Ngong’ Hills for the second time, but I didn’t walk all the way to Kiserian. Instead I went to Ole Polos and darn, I think that place is over-rated. I don’t wish to go back. Not now, not ever. So, I have to go far away, near to the place where I got grenades to refresh. The weekend after next weekend I will be climbing Mt Kenya and a fortnight thereafter, I will be going up Mt Kilimanjaro.
I am not doing all this for fun, although, I do love hiking. But climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is part of my effort to raise money for a few hungry souls, because, seriously, I am convinced the politics of this country are just wrong. And Sunny Bindra agrees. He’s always said it, but then, well, there’s a peculiarity that is uniquely Kenyan. No?
As Sara Bakata asks in her column, how does the national referral hospital lack bed sheets in a time of emergency? And why doesn’t it turn on the government for money to buy sheets –instead it appeals to the public to donate…seriously? And yet we’re paying Sh1 billion for a non-existent fertilizer factory? Yet we’ve taken money for contingency funds to cushion MPs from paying tax on their allowances?
But back to the Sinai Fire. I listened to all the stories about it and I was lucky to chat up a credible guy who told me that the scooping of fuel from the drain is the norm. So when I read a newspaper story and I see a PR guy busy denying that, I feel much more angered. I burn with fury. I click and stop reading.
You don’t just sit in the office and go about issuing statements left, right and centre, even if that’s your job description. People lost fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters. Yet, because you don’t even know what your colleagues do as a job, or what your firm does, you sit in your swanky office and refuse to apologise. Just apologise. Your boss did it. Why are you acting all righteous?
People of Sinai, know that diesel flows through the drain. They’ve tapped it for years. The environment regulator, caught unawares, also knew that this happens. So, when you go ahead with your denials, what do you take us for? Not all witnesses to your complicity to murder are dead. Darn!
We all make mistakes, so, I won’t rant a lot.
PS: This is my first blog is September. I only did one in August. Someone has been busy. But that’s no excuse. My apologies. I will try to focus.