BY CASSANDRA MERCY
Kenyans are addicted to disaster. We behave as if nothing pleases us more than having some hot and impending disaster looming over our heads. Our democratically elected government has felt this need for crisis and bent over backwards to ensure this particular need is met not only frequently but promptly.
For instance, Kazi Kwa Vijana, – whatever the politics behind it – should be doing better things than cracking ugly stones in the CBD. This energetic organisation could instead be preparing us for the flooding ahead. There are drainage systems that desperately need unclogging, dams that need de-silting and a million other things that could prevent some inevitable consequences of El Nino turning into all out catastrophes.
Nairobi during El Nino is going to be quite a trial. As it is, the barest of drizzles brings the city to a grounding halt. The last time it rained for three days straight I put some serious consideration into buying a dhow. When it rains heavily even gumboots don’t help as you attempt to cross Tom Mboya Street. What will happen to Alfred Mutua’s loosely placed stones that currently disgrace Uhuru Highway?
It is all well to call for punishment of the perpetrators of post election violence. They should be punished severely to serve as an example to themselves as well as to other people who might think impunity can go unpunished. However, one thing that baffles is that no mechanism has been put in place to prevent what happened in 2007/2008 from happening all over again.
Tribal kingpins still have their networks and if rumor is to be believed, these groups of angry and violent people are always on stand by should their services be needed. There’s absolutely nothing being done to infiltrate these violent networks and expose them to prosecution and surveillance. Merely talking about punishing the leaders is not a deterrent whatsoever. The moment these people feel you are persecuting their leaders, they will come out in arms, it is what they do.
In other countries fire is such a big deal that not responding in the correct way is a chargeable offence. Nairobi City Council did one check, pronounced that most businesses did not meet the minimum fire safety requirements and went silent. It is all well and good to give them time to upgrade their fire protection systems but how much time is logically possible? Woe unto us if another fire breaks out in the city, I suspect it may have an even higher death toll consequences considering the water rationing et al.
When you think about it, fires, floods, crazy roads, unruly children, water and any other crisis you recall are things that have given us warning signs way before they exploded in our faces. There are things the government could do of course, but we have got to stop being such drama queens about issues. We need to learn to put the pressure on early, not when things have already gone awry.