For the first time in a long time, last week, I took time out to sit and watch the news. Given that I have avoided it consciously for almost a year now so it would only be natural to assume that the news would have changed. For the better even. Always the optimistic soul, I served myself supper and set myself comfortably before the screen. I was going to enjoy Kenyan news dammit. I was determined.
Imagine my shock when the first story I saw was about how our MP's are taking (not stealing, not borrowing) from our public coffers....infact from the government emergency fund.....to pay their taxes. Incase you missed that blatant show of impunity....
So I watched in shock as the rich once again stole from the poor and declared defiantly that they needed it more. They've worked harder, they care less or whatever. But that is not what saddened me as I once again regretted my decision to watch the news. What saddened me was how quickly Kenyans will forget this incidence as we seem to quickly forget all others.
This one did not even get as much hate speech as I had expected. Maybe it was because we were excitedly cheering on for our awesome athletes at Daegu or maybe it was because Kenyans were preparing to spend endless hours following the Hague proceedings or perhaps it was because we were bemusedly listening to PLO get defiant about his sacking. Perhaps we are just tired of all their nonsense and have resigned to it as part of our lives. Whatever it was, left me a little perturbed. In my opinion, this was an incident worthy of the Hague. This was a crime against humanity. A crime against morality.
Last month, Kenyans launched a noble campaign to raise funds for the starving and dying Kenyans. Some gave away their money, others gave of their professions and others gave of their time. All in all, millions gave of themselves and what they could to help others who were in need. They saw a need Now, just picture the money you mpesa'd,sacrificed, re-worked your budget for. Now picture the photos of children, animals and old people on TV dying. Now picture your MP and what he did. With the money you worked hard for.
First they sent us Alfred Mutua to reassure the nation that "we have not received reports of people dying".Which made me wonder whether he thought he was talking to a country of fools and blind men. I was terrified by this. Then quickly after that declaration, our Honourable members took it a step further and decided to keep some of the money for themselves. It was clearly a case of "no sooner...than" Their confidence was worthy of an award.
The sad part about all this is how we continue to do nothing to stop them. How we grumble in the background while year in, year out, they hold budgets and bills hostage until they make yet another hefty bump in salary. The saddest part of all this, is how we continue to bring them back in term after term hoping that this time they will change. This time, the CDF money will go to good use. This time they will grace their constituents. Like a battered wife, we forget about yesterday's kicks and blows and hope this time all he will just slap us.
We seem to have forgotten, the maize scandals, the mysterious missing billions that were written off as accounting errors, the suspicious sale of Grand Regency, the Triton Scandal, the Goldenberg Scandal, etc etc.... Either that, or we are a very forgiving nation. Every scandal is closely followed by another and another until all that the news has become a series of scandals. We hear, we complain, we shake our heads and yet continue to do nothing.
They say hind sight is 20-20 and if we continue condoning every whim by these people, I fear we shall look back and wonder how we got so messed up so quickly. How it got so dark so fast. We are not entirely blameless. We are the ones who keep voting them in and when we remove one we just replace them with a barely better version. We are to blame because we continue to sit back and bicker in our houses and on the streets. We are to blame because we have given our power away to those meant to serve us. We have refused to discipline them and yet we blame others for the mess they have made.
Impunity in our country does need to be cried for...by us. We need to weep hard and react even harder. We need to feel what is happening to our country in our very being. The taste in our mouth should be bitter every time they pull this stupid crap. We need to act before what is happening to others happens to us. The effect will ripple down and are YOU sure you will survive when they crash our economy to the ground? When every coin you have worked hard vapourises or becomes so weak that you can barely live on it.
Cry, my forgetful country, it is time to cry.
In related news, I am back to avoiding the news like a bad disease.