Monday, February 07, 2011

I Quit This Bitch!

On my way to work today, I had an epiphany. As I sat in one of the unending traffic jams that have become part of the daily ritual of trying to get to work, fuming as matatus "overlapped" the queue, it occurred to me that it wasn't they who were the stupid ones.

The rule of law, whether we're talking about the highway code, commercial law or criminal statutes, assumes a universal application. So, when I accept to religiously abide by it when others consider it only as a guideline, to be discarded whenever it is convenient to do so, then it is I who is refusing to see the reality as it truly is.

This notion was reinforced when I finally got to my office and read in the papers that Rift Valley MPs were planning to ditch the National Accord in a bid to replace Raila Odinga as the Prime Minister with William Ruto. According to The Standard, the plot is an attempt to shield Ruto from potentially facing charges at the International Criminal Court relating to the 2008 post-election violence. "If it means repealing the Accord, then we will act and move with speed to replace the PM, ," the paper quotes the chairman of the Rift Valley Parliamentary Group, Dr. Julius Kones, as saying.

Putting aside for one minute the questionable wisdom of the move (after all, Omar al-Bashir's position as President of Sudan didn't save him from similar indictments), the statements simply emphasize the fact that there is one law for some and another for the rest. Just like the enlightened matatu drivers, our politicians believe that the rules do not apply to them and can be discarded whenever one of them gets into trouble.

Our whole system of governance aids and abets this logic. So when Cabinet Ministers are forced out of office after being caught with their hands in the till, the government creates a new taxonomy in which those who "step aside" are allowed to keep their fat salaries and allowances without actually having to work for them. That, they tell us, is how we will win the war on corruption!

I now believe that it is the ordinary, hardworking, tax-paying, law-abiding Kenyan who is stupid. We agree to faithfully pay our taxes, even celebrating when the government exceeds its revenue collection targets, while those who actually pass our tax laws do not feel obliged to live under the same regime. We pay salaries to policemen and civil servants and then agree to supplement these with bribes. We accept that the leaders of the same government supposed to ensure roads are properly built to cater for the booming numbers of vehicles and that traffic rules are obeyed, should not themselves be inconvenienced when they fail to do their jobs. We allow them to provide our children with a failing education system -at our expense, naturally- while they take their kids to private schools and elite universities in the West. We acquiesce when they tell us all is well with our public hospitals but they fly abroad at the slightest sign of illness.

We are the fools when we insist on believing that a new constitution will somehow magically apply the law to them. Our politicians, like our matatu drivers, are not Kenyans. The fact is, Kenya is their creation, not ours. Its policies, rules and laws only apply to Kenyans, the wananchi (the people of the nation), not to the wenye nchi (those who own the nation). They are designed to perpetuate the power and wealth of the latter, to transfer resources and dignity from the former. It explains why none of our systems work, for the wenye nchi have no interest in us spending our money on ourselves. It is why no one goes to jail when they steal maize while a third of the country is starving, why no one is punished when people are sold contaminated food and when public funds go missing. It is the sole reason that the fate of 6 of them is of more import than the deaths of 1,500 Kenyans.

I, for one, am tired of this charade we call Kenya. I am tired of countless commissions that only produce paper; of a Parliament that only represents itself. I am tired of the cycle of prosecutions that produce no convictions and reforms that generate no change. I am tired of being poor and having to work hard to fund the excesses of a wealthy few. I am tired of carrying a leadership, a state, a country, that is nothing more than a parasitic infection.

I am tired of being a Kenyan. I am tired of being stupid.

In 2008, after being treated like crap for years, Inetta the Mood-Setter, a part-time DJ in the US, refused to take it anymore. Her parting words to the radio station, delivered live on air: "I QUIT THIS BITCH!"

So do I.


Anonymous said...

why not send this to one of the papers? or they just wont publish such an exposition?? from reading the "blog comments"on would be 4given 4 concluding that kenyans, generally, are idiots who have no idea where their interests lie!!!!(except those in power...who myopically assume they know how best to cover their interests!!). I also quit this bitch! Lol!

Anonymous said...

Ok, Gathara, I hear you loud and clear.

Believe you me, these are my sentiments exactly.

However, and here's the kicker, how exactly are you quitting?

What will you do differently?

Or what will you do in quitting?

Anonymous said...

You've hit the nail of the head!

Unknown said...

I agree completely with the sentiments of frustration in this powerful piece.

But if I can echo the words of one of the few (if not only) prolific leaders we have in place: "If I don't do it [take the steps towards transforming our country] who do I expect will? We have to have hope, there is no other Kenya, it is only this one, and it is all I have, and I will work to preserve and give it a future"

I once asked Martha Karua why she chooses to fight and that was the response she gave me. So, Gathara, before you "Quit this Bitch"...just remember...'we only have one Kenya. If we [you and I] don't take care of it, who will'?

Take courage!

shuksy said...

WOW .... do you realize that 99.9% of the stupid are just as tired of being Kenyan as you are ??

Unknown said...

One word: Consequences!

Unknown said...

One word: Consequences!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what if the first figure, if illustrated as a regular human being, wouldn't reveal better the undelaying truth: all average humans beings have initially a hopeful potential.

Unknown said...

Reminds of a lady who once said, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."

Edwin Maloba said...

The ruling elite will always have it their way.