We must change our Kenyan ways


Last year, I used the example of Egypt’s Minister for Transport who resigned because some train had hit a buffalo somewhere in his country, derailed and caused death.

In that article, I and most readers agreed that Kenya is clearly very different from Egypt where such a withdrawn occurrence could lead to the resignation of a Cabinet Minister.

Well, I think it is time Kenyans came together and agreed on the basic standards to set for our leaders. I say this because it is clear that Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and other people in positions of authority refuse to take responsibility for whatever goes wrong simply because it is “the Kenyan way” of doing things.

You see, we as a society have come to accept many ills as “typically Kenyan.” For instance, it is very Kenyan for you to sit clutching your fist in fear as a bus speeds to your destination and only after an accident will you appear on television complaining how “that driver was speeding”.

It is typically Kenyan to occupy a residential block with clearly visible structural faults yet complain about the developer after the building collapses and kills your family.

Recently, I overheard some construction workers in a heated debate over the many corruption scandals and incompetence of public officers.  Interestingly, one of them challenged his colleagues: “if any of you were in charge of the billions in Free Primary Education, and you got a chance, wouldn’t you pocket some?” he asked.

The response was unanimous. All would fleece the coffers!

Then how do we expect to hold people to account for the billions of shillings that are lost in various corruption scandals? How can Kenyans punish people when nobody believes in the ideals that we preach?

Hear me people:  Sam Ongeri and Professor Karega Mutahi will NOT step aside to allow investigations into the free primary education scandal, unless foreigners (read donors) push them out of office.

Neither will Chirau Mwakwere over the ferry, airports, railways or matatu fiasco. And the reason is simple; we are a society of vague morals which cannot hold anybody to account.

But this needs to change, soon.

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