By Albert Nyakundi Amenya
From a safe haven, I have listened to debates over one of my newspaper’s editorial mid last month declaring Kenya a failed state. I have been shocked that albeit there are a few who openly traduced me, many have agreed that, indeed, the Kenyan state has failed and that I said nothing new. So we have been living in a failed state yet we pretend that all is well. This buttresses the widespread belief that Kenyans are the most pretentious people on earth.
Now, let me tell you. The reality, then, is that most Kenyans go hungry but are too ashamed too ashamed to “confess”. Many young women have been forced into prostitution to try and make ends meet. Many young men have taken it to criminal activities like shoplifting armed robbery and kidnapping. Others have turned thugs for hire by politicians. However, those – like the Banana Peddler – who have refused to violate their conscience have resorted to begging. Others have elected to seek solace in the houses of prayer but spiritual leaders have turned out the most dangerous thieves. Others are harboring dangerous diseases but are too poor to seek for remedy.
It is only in this country of pretenders where men and women hide their wants depression in decent clothing. If you walk across the streets of Nairobi, you see faces of frustrated Kenyans. Men in their 30s 40s and 50s are still bachelors though they clutch university degrees. Out of outright frustration, many Kenyans have turned to drugs like Marijuana, Mogoka, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks.
In this country today, learned Kenyans avoid hard work because they see their mates making millions of shillings from inflated government tenderpreneuring, politics and other criminal activities. In this country today, finding dedicated employees is a giant headache to employers these days. It is saddening that only a few are now engaging in masonry, carpentry, tailoring and plumbing by choice. Everyone wants to cut corners and make quick big money. Our young men and women have become choosy.
Shakespeare got it right: “When beggars die, there are no comets seen/The heavens itself blaze forth the death of princes.” In this country, money that belongs to wananchi is used to settle politicians. Nobody cares about the poor. We have become a man eat-man society. Kidnappers and robbers continue to inflict pains on their compatriots.
Rapists, murderers and bandits are not left behind. They have chosen to strike the weakest members of the society because the Kenyan government protects only the rich. It always reminds me of Adolf Hitler’ favorite statement: “The poor can always be dealt with.”
(The writer sells bananas in the streets of Kisii County)