Get furious at State, but you are on your own in Covid war
By Clay Muganda | March 14th 2021
If there is an art Kenyans have perfected, it is getting angry at the government over its acts of omission and commission. The bouts of anger, expressed mostly on social media platforms, have increased, or become more visible over the past twelve months of coronavirus.
On Friday, Kenyans’ anger was showing again. It was building up as they waited for the Head of State to give an address on the state of the pandemic, and its attendant destruction of different facets of their lives.
The pandemic came with its fresh basket of woes for a people already in a battered economy only propped up by expensive loans — with more being taken and getting lost in translation from Chinese to the language Kenyan politicians speak while raiding public coffers.
It is safe to say Kenyans have been angry for long, and rightfully so, considering that the government makes it clear that its job description is letting the citizenry down. Their taxes are squandered, their children are killed or made to die through negligence or lack of proper medical care, essential workers are ignored and generally, their natural resources end up in the pockets of politicians and their cronies.
Often, the cries of the citizenry are not listened to, and they are subtly told that their lives and livelihoods matter little — unless it is election time. During that time, their ears are filled with vitriol the politicians spew at one another, and lies, and promises that are never meant to be kept.
The problem is, they listen, and even in this era of the pandemic, many forget that it is their personal responsibility to stay safe, and not the government’s duty to force them. Thus, they attend the Covid-19 super spreader events yet common sense dictates that keeping away from packed venues saves lives.
It is not a secret that when they, the voters, contract the virus, they suffer on their own and the politicians at whose rallies they most likely contracted the virus, are not bothered.
Then the patients and other Kenyans will blame the government, and the politicians, saying they should set good examples by observing the safety protocols. But truth be told, there is taking personal responsibility; and also common sense should guide people away from politicians’ meetings where safety protocols are not observed.
On Friday, as Kenyans’ collective anger was building up, their main expectation was that the curfew will be lifted. They did not even want to hear whether more doses of the vaccine will be made available soon, to all. They were just concerned with the curfew, which many contend has continued to strangle an economy which, like a Covid-19 patient, is gasping for air and has been in that state for several years.
All the economic measures meant to cushion the vulnerable when the pandemic struck, do not seem to have helped much because of unbridled corruption, and Kenyans are generally in a worse situation than they were in before the pandemic became a reality.
Even then, there are Kenyans who did not believe the pandemic was real, and dismissed safety protocols announced by the Ministry of Health, as a ploy by the government, and the politicians, to fleece the public.
Of course the distrust was caused by the fact that politicians continued holding rallies and meetings and did not observe the safety protocols common folk were being told to adhere to.
But as it has been seen on numerous occasions, politicians can afford better medical care unlike many Kenyans. That is why the narrative that safety protocols must be ignored because another class of people is not observing them is a lame excuse by people who want to be policed so they can take care of their health. As for the fleecing during or because of the pandemic, of course it happened, what with people who were just walking by the medical supplies authority, getting tenders to supply hot air, in the name of protective equipment, at very high prices.
Because of that, taxpayers, the voters have lost billions of shillings which will only add to their economic woes since the government will tax them more, even in the post-coronavirus period. But it would be unfair to say that the government continuously fails in its duties without being enabled by the same people who suffer. It is no lie that Kenyans are fully responsible for their tribulations because they have refused to take their elected representatives, and subsequently, the government to task. They just love getting annoyed and whining yet the power is in their hands.
This is the same mentality they have when it comes to curbing the spread of coronavirus. Instead of taking personal responsibility to stay safe, they get angry at the government yet they know that will not help.
Of course the government should do better and protect the citizenry, but how about taking personal responsibility now that you know the corrupt people you elected have made letting you down their onerous task?
-The writer is an editor at The Standard
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