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It’s good to be back, shooting questions and not answers

By Peter Kimani | April 9th 2021

The logo of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the organization's headquarters in Washington, DC. [Getty Images]

Belated happy New Year, belated happy Easter, belated happy birthday! And I guess it is not too early to wish you a very merry Christmas. I am re-enacting a very Kenyan tradition, an exaggerated manner of greeting when long-lost friends reconnect.

It has been long since I wrote in these hallowed pages to reflect on the state of our nation, even though quite a few readers that I encountered in city streets insisted: “I still read your articles in the Nation. Or, is it The Standard?”

So, here I am. And while I was away, the ground shifted beneath us, literally, so our thoughtful engineers are building roads up in the air, while Kenya Airways planes have been grounded. I kid you not; the aircraft has been run to the ground.

And as Kenyans are wont to say, “vitu kwa ground ni different”; so with the economy in the doldrums, Kenyans on Twitter are directly negotiating with the IMF. They are spelling out strict terms under which the international money lender can offer a bailout to the government. They insist the cash must not be intended for stealing.

Perhaps I should refrain from using such strong language, like “stealing” since we have not seen anyone rotting away in jail for theft, although a steady trickle of suspects have been spirited in and out of the courts, before quietly slipping away, to freedom, and more heists.

We suffer from such a serious bout of amnesia, anything, no matter how egregious, is all forgotten in two weeks flat. Who remembers, after all, about that little matter of schools’ laptop project?

As a middle-aged man, slouching towards senility, I have vague recollections of the 2013 election pledge: free, solar-powered laptop for every schoolchild. Never again, we were told, would a Kenyan child study under a tree, for the God whom we invoke every day in our national anthem has provided plenty within our borders.

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How many laptops were actually delivered? I don’t quite remember. As to how many are in good working condition, don’t ask me. My work is about asking questions, not providing answers.

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