We owe ourselves a peaceful festive season

Kenyans serve food in a previous ceremony. [David Gichuru,Standard]

As we make merry with family and friends this festive break we should remember the predictable mixed bag of fortunes the season comes with.

And as we look forward to welcoming the New Year, we must not forget that the same sets of needs, obligations and circadian rhythms whose routine defined the tides of previous years, will be repeated all over again. To enjoy this season, therefore, calls for restraint in our actions and a commitment to making the period peaceful and rewarding. The hard truth is that festive seasons within our shores are easily turned into sprees punctuated with slapdash cavorting. In making merry we oftentimes end up breaking more than we fix.

While the government is prepared to make this season peaceful as possible, none of us should sit on our laurels only to regret our actions or inactions thereafter. We have families to take care of and obligations to fulfil. Acting with frolicsome abandon will only deliver agony, a prospect we must avoid.

Let us sample some quick facts that point to the caution we should heed. According to recent statistics from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) 184 road user deaths were recorded between December 1 and 13 alone. That is hardly half of the month.

Some Kenyans are likely to fall into the lure of over-indulgence and speeding. The carnival mood will see some of us test fate by letting loose with reckless abandon. Let's remind ourselves that misadventure will, no doubt, come at a cost.

NTSA's recent road fatalities report shows motor accidents claimed 4,432 victims between the January 1 and December 13 marking close to a 3.8 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

A whooping 9,315 individuals were seriously injured and a further 6,691 slightly injured in motor vehicle accidents during the same period. These numbers tell a secondary story that we sometimes ignore or forget. Those who perished in road accidents were parents, relatives, providers and guardians.

Those left behind by their loved ones could drop out of school or become destitute, God forbid! In other words, the cascade of loss caused by road accidents may not seem apparent immediately but in the fullness of time, the impact may be far ranging. Therefore, as you abuse alcohol and drive, remember you could be casting the future of your progeny into a bottomless pit of wretchedness. Remember also that by succumbing to heedless ecstasy and breaking traffic rules is beckoning death and avoidable misery to your loved ones. The tragedy is that the person who causes an accident ends up turning others canon fodder. Simply put, think twice before you break traffic rules.

We have urged our security apparatus, particularly traffic police and police on patrol to be extra vigilant during this season. We shall not spare anyone including bullies and those who harass other road users.

Neither shall we tolerate lawlessness meted out on innocent Kenyans by merchants of anarchy and discord. Tell me, how do we tolerate those whose tipple threatens the safety and wellbeing of other Kenyans? For once, let us be responsible over this festive season. Many of us throw caution to the wind during the festive season and by so doing fall prey to the adventures of rogues and mischief-makers out to exploit our incautiousness.

By dropping our guard, we become wilful abettors of criminal activities of those bent of taking advantage of our heedlessness. It is therefore unwise to turn ourselves into fodder for lawbreakers and complain afterwards.

Many of us have personal recollections of avoidable misfortunes that have befallen our loved ones in the midst of merrymaking during such seasons as this. As the Latin writer of yore, Publilius Syrus once famously said, "...it is a good thing to learn from the misfortunes of others." Let us purpose not to become teaching aids for our loved ones as we celebrate Christmas and usher in 2023.

Have a peaceful Christmas break and a bountiful 2023!

The writer is Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Administration of National Government