The problem with Kenyans is that we get too excited about the latest big newsbyte, forgetting that the big news splash is rooted on an event that occurred decades ago, but which no one recalls.

That lawmaker who allegedly clobbered a matronly policewoman barely a fortnight ago was once a Kanu official. Anyone who has had the honour of interacting with a grassroots Kanu operative of old will know that the independence party was not called Jogoo (cockerel) for nothing.


That’s why the perennial seesaw for power between our two fat tribes, of course poorly camouflaged as ‘ideological and political differences’, the firm resolve (yawn) to discipline careless drivers by fining them on the spot, this new fad of drunken men killing their children because of a small tiff with madam over food and even the fashionable thing of Kenyans developing a taste for human blood and anal sex with goats should be ignored. That is not news. They happened decades ago, only we didn’t notice.    

The profound things that hound us today begin many years earlier. Take that secondary school team that was banned from a national football tournament recently for fielding three ineligible players. Those three boys sat for KSCE years back at a different school and were, therefore, no different from Mr Waiganjo, that alleged police imposter who intends to be an author — like the venerable Ngugi wa Thiongo — by spilling the beans on a thriller penned on prison toilet paper.


Of course the coach, in collusion with the school principal, perpetrated that little scam of fake school footballers. But I’m certain the school chaplain, all born-again teachers, students and cooks were in the know. Even the chairman of the PTA knew. But not one of them squealed. How could they? They wanted to win at all cost.  

But it would have been immoral to ask the school principal to step aside, like Gladys Boss Shollei, while that small matter was investigated. I mean, he didn’t do anything wrong, did he? All he did was teach 1,000 boys that the ends justify the means, and that cheating, forgery and corruption are vital skills for survival in Kenya.

Far away in Kiganjo, something even more profound was going on. A recruit constable was dismissed for stealing two mobile phones. The incriminating evidence was allegedly found in her underwear during a body search (obviously conducted without flashing a search warrant).

While I congratulate the police at Kiganjo for leaving no stone unturned in this investigation, I think dismissing this recruit was rather shortsighted. As you know, you send a thief to catch a thief and it was self-defeating for the police to expel a recruit who was training herself to be the next top sleuth at absolutely no cost to the government.

In any case, she would have ended up becoming a traffic offences bribe collector after passing out, which is no different from stuffing a stolen phone in your knickers anyway.

So when students are taught to cheat in a football tournament, why does it shock us when they later steal exams, pinch phones at a police academy, mount goats or go all the way to Bunge with university certificate procured in a dingy backstreet, like an illegal abortion?