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Technology does not steal, lie or kill; evil people do

COMMENTARY
By Henry Munene | November 14th 2015

NAIROBI: The greatest irony of the coming of modern technology is that while it has made life less tedious, it has spawned its own downside that has left the world complaining. We are now wary of what children are browsing on the net; especially with their sexual and narcotic escapades finding their way to front-page news. Remember the kids from a Kirinyaga school caught recently doing tabia mbaya (bad manners) in a Nairobi-bound bus? And the bar-full of teens found high on weed and booze in an Eldoret bar? You must also recall the underage crowd found binge-drinking, smoking, twerking and doing stuff you only see in lurid Jamaican music videos at a Nairobi pub. Ok, welcome to Armageddon!
Lost kids aside, there are also hordes complaining that today, a task that employed 20 sinewy supermen can be done by a wimp - perhaps with owlish bifocals due to poor eyesight - staring at the screen of a computer and not appearing to do much.

On the security front, proliferation of small arms has led to insecurity; from Lokitaung in Turkana all the way to the US. My beef with the mobile telephony, especially, is that it meant our younger brothers and sisters in high school – it’s a pity, really - will never discover the magical power of letter writing. You see, in my time you sat in a lone corner at prep time and crafted a ‘missive’ that you were sure would fill the apple of your eye with so many butterflies in their stomach. You were careful to ensure every sentence was sentimentally woven. But now with SMS and Whatsapp technology, perfumed missives are all but a lost art.

True, back in the day people also kept time for dates and meetings, and there were less liars. If you wrote to someone and you agreed to meet at Kenya Cinema in Nairobi, you had to keep time and wait patiently for your date to show up. Today you stay at a coffee shop waiting for someone, only for a text message to pop up: “Cn’t mk it. Xoxo!” You the stare askance at the disappointing text by someone who 15 minutes ago had said she was stuck in traffic “jst arnd th corner, xoxo” but who now can’t make it. Help! The ‘xoxo’ and ‘xaxa’ generation is full of liars.

That said, what we have failed to realise is that technology cannot humanise us. Whether you use guns to kill innocent people or defend yourself has nothing to do with the weapon. It has everything to do with whether you know God! It shows how evil we can get that sleep-inducing drugs, meant to be used in surgery, are now being used by gangs - fronted by luscious girls - to clean bachelors’ houses of electronics and rob old, lusty men of their hard-earned cash. Thus, you can’t blame the internet for spoiling our kids. If you don’t discipline your children, they will soak in tabia mbaya from the internet.

It is why I almost laughed my heart out when governors started suggesting that we do away with the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), ostensibly because it was used to siphon Sh791 million from State coffers. You see, the system was not meant to turn the thieves in government into State chaplains. It was to expose their nefarious intentions of joining the service. Which leads me to the question: Isn’t it possible we would be talking of hundreds of billions if the pesky IFMS was not in place? I could be wrong, but look who is proposing doing away with the system?

The point here is that we must never let our guard down. Technology is only meant to make things easier, not to create better people. A thief will use technology to steal. So we must never stop the campaign against evil just because we have made technological advancements.

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