Scarcity mentality to blame for our obsession with material things

We have assigned money more value than life itself. That’s why Kenyans in many parts of the country have been on the brink of starvation as the Government procrastinates over relief food. That’s why there is need for relief food in a country where maize rots in State silos. That’s why the minority ruling class can sit atop the pyramid, grabbing cash by the fistful, while advising the majority to tighten their belts.

That’s why ‘very important people’ in convoys of big cars can force commuters off the road, while speeding past streams of pedestrians who walk for miles to work for peanuts. That’s why most Government services come pre-loaded with the cost of corruption, including the amount you pay to process a death certificate. That’s why the Presidency can spend hundreds of millions on hospitality while essential services like maternal healthcare and education-for-all remain woefully underfunded.

That’s why a man can hack a woman to death in broad daylight before witnesses. Because he gave her money and she had the audacity to withhold her affection. The nerve to accept his cash and reject his advances. In the end, he did the math and concluded that his money was worth more than her life.

His motivations

Now, it is more than likely that the killer had more going wrong in his head than poor arithmetic. It is hard to imagine the kind of man that would drive all the way from Nairobi to Eldoret on a killing mission, and not once question his motivations. Never once did it strike him that murder was not an appropriate response to rejection. Never once did he consider that ‘I-gave-her-money’ was not a viable defence, nor a justifiable reason, for taking a life.

There’s obviously more going on with him than we realise. And yet, he is still very much a product of his society. A society where relationships have become conspicuously transactional. Where money has become the unit of exchange for all things. Money can buy you status, power, and elected office. Many believe that it can also buy you self-worth, human dignity, sex, and yes, even love.

See, thanks to our distorted economy, the market is a mirage. Opportunities to create jobs and services are few and far between but somehow cash continues to flow. Outright theft, runaway corruption, and the rise of the ‘tenderpreneur’, have meant that much of the money that circulates in this economy cannot be tied to viable market activity. The focus has shifted from making money, to getting money by any means necessary. And like I say, we have assigned it more value than life. Energetically, we’re vibrating on a cash frequency and because of this superficial consciousness the soul of our nation has been severely degraded.

Our evolution

That said, this skewed perception of money is just a symptom of the artificial scarcity mentality that was introduced by the colonialists, and then ably enforced by the economic elite who took over after our so-called ‘independence’. But the idea that money is scarce is just one obstacle in our evolution. There are many factors that would, for instance, create an environment in which a man can kill a woman at high noon without any awareness that money is not a good reason to spill blood.

Of all these factors, ‘slay-queendom’ is not one. The social behaviour of women, no matter how foul society has judged it to be, cannot be used as justification to visit violence upon them. One cannot blame or shame a woman for accepting cash that a man has decided to give. Because in this transactional society, men must take full responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, actions – and money.

I’ve seen men talking about ‘return on investment’ when they spend money on women. They apply this thinking to the simplest of social interactions, like buying alcohol for women, or buying bundles to chat them up. This is unsurprising for reasons already mentioned, but if we must persist in trading relationships on the commodities market, then we must also insist on good business sense, and due diligence.

Don’t put your money where your mind should be. We might be living in the sunken place where currency is the only type of energy we can vibe to, but in the real world, money can’t buy you love. Money can’t turn the heart of a disinterested woman towards you no matter how much cash you flash. So do the responsible thing. Quit killing women for taking what you decided to give. Leave your wallets in your pockets and keep it moving.

Ms. Masiga is Peace and Security Editor, The Conversation Africa­