“Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”
Tragically, that sums up the present state of nationhood in Kenya, a mad nation that is treading frighteningly close to the precipice of self-destruction.
This is not about the numerous good things, the cultural diversity, and all the pleasant people that you will meet across this beautiful land. No, not in the least.
It is about the endemic malady that has afflicted this great country. It is about the almost deliberate effort by those empowered to run the affairs of the country to instead run it into the ground. It is about the apathy of the downtrodden, who have resigned themselves to their fate in the belief that — excuse the pun — nothing good will ever come out of their good-for-nothing leaders.
It is about an eternally postponed national dream of liberation from the yoke of servitude, illiteracy, poverty, and illness, a dream envisioned by the founding fathers of the nation.
The indifference, intolerance, and callousness that you are bound to witness every day as countrymen trade insults on social media is a manifestation of this contagious madness that pervades all levels of the Kenyan society
It is because of this madness that politicians have taken to habitually turning solemn occasions — such as funerals — into platforms of juvenile verbal exchanges in what is essentially a pissing contest, only that their target is their pitiful electorate who elevate and prop them in those positions of power and affluence.
The same lunacy is responsible for the fisticuffs and broadsides that cantankerous MPs and MCAs have made their pastime on the floor of the National Assembly and county assemblies, where the voice of reason is muffled.
If a mere slap on the wrist is all that a power-blinded sycophant gets for trying to usurp executive authority by declaring himself “acting president” in a moment of madness, then indeed we are in a very bad place.
In this state, anyone bold enough to question — let alone stand up to — the political class is treated the way a raving lunatic at the market place would be. Similarly, that honest traffic policeman who refuses to be bribed by delinquent motorists is assumed to have gone mad.
You know that things have gone terribly wrong when the government denies its own children the privilege of growing up by grabbing every playground and any tiny open space. Of course, the faintest whimper of protest is choked in teargas fumes. It is all madness!
But it gets worse. It is unfortunate that the once respectable members of the Fourth Estate have long abdicated their noble role of moderating and shaping public opinion.
While the most brazen of their lot have openly sold out to their political benefactors, the coy ones have conveniently turned themselves into wavering cheerleaders in farcical shouting matches disguised as talk shows.
If Kenya somehow manages to miraculously survive the scourge of corruption, then it will surely be consumed by the psychosis that has afflicted its people — this madness of negative ethnicity, theft of the national coffers, and general maladministration of the State.
So, what will work for a country where street protests, violent elections, and, most tragically, the Constitution have failed?
One firebrand activist recently prescribed a “ballot revolution” as the only effective antidote to our collective national malaise. In his words, citizens who are willing to vote with their hearts and principles are what will save Kenya from this self-inflicted calamity.
Fair enough, but do we have such citizens in Kenya? Methinks we should simply make peace with the gods.
The writer is a sub-editor at the Daily [email protected]