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Why do we love listening to and telling lies?

By Edward Buri | Jan 9th 2022 | 4 min read

Young women having a fun moment. [Getty Images]

Why is deception so acceptable?  Lies are spoken and we clap. We are cheated and we cheer. We are a lying and lied to nation. Truth is lonely and unwanted. Those who seek honesty are frowned upon – even fired. Why do we hopelessly say "We've no option but choose the "nicer" thief?" It is saddening if after all the years of independence, Kenya has not nurtured a pool of non-thieves capable of fitting for political leadership. Did thieves steal, hoard and copyright political positions? Scales must fall from our eyes and discard this lie! If you have problems with deceptive leaders, you will find it very difficult to choose a leader from the present typology of aspirants. If you do not have a problem being deceived, making a pick is as easy as ABC. But there is a problem with not having a problem with deceivers. A nation built on lies is lying to itself. 

Why is excellence scattered? We have entrenched a vice of cutting corners. This culture delivers appearance of good but hardly the good itself. Institutional excellence is punctuated with most organisations not having excellence as a goal and aim at only getting by. Many educated Kenyans have been baptised into the culture of “eating” their institutions. When intellect is lent to thieving we have a sorry state of the nation.  Kenyans accustomed to no-services find mediocre services heavenly. Excellence is infrequent with only a few institutions offering quality services consistently. Work is given just enough fuel to get it done yielding a diluted life.

Many leaders do not serve from conviction but only for visibility, giving half efforts that yield diluted experiences. The extra mile is bushy because it is hardly walked.  Yet citizens deserve that touch above the ordinary that intensifies their experience and spices up life. They are not born to suffer! Excellence need not be a market dynamic. It should be a practice arising from a reverence for life where individuals and systems respond to situations and opportunities with a spirit of honour. To be proud of cutting corners is to live in darkness. Cutting corners chokes a country’s quality of life. 

Why can’t we be trusted? On the global map of trust, it is hard to locate Kenya. The Chinese build a railway but they would rather run it. As long as they are owed, they will demand a grip. Their grip is to keep their quality as well as keep away the Kenyan breed of greed. They cannot trust Kenyans. That we sign on to such contracts affirms the trust-shortage critique. One fears the day the operations of the multi-billion projects will be taken over by Kenyans! It is not that we are not capable. We have no character. Intellect without character is chaotic. Magical Kenya needs to expand its reach from positioning the country as a destination to positioning its destiny. To be truly magical, we must rebrand from a culture of running down institutions to one of firming up integrity which is trust’s raw material. It has many enemies but it is our only salvation. Enemies of integrity are enemies of nationhood. To imagine that leaders suffering from a perpetual integrity drought can lead us to prosperity is a bad dream.

Why is kindness commercialised? Sales persons, waitstaff are the frontiers of kindness. At the end of the day, they remove their masks and return to their regular selves. To them kindness is factor of work. Away from the market where kindness is a transaction enabler, goodness is held in suspicion. This is evidenced by such sayings as if the deal is too good think twice. Natural kindness is unexpected. When you extend it you are likely to be asked “Why are you being so nice?” Nice for the sake if nice is illicit.  But to minimise kindness is to surrender to the forces of indifference. A community that does not produce its resource of kindness is bound to bruise itself.

Why is sobriety mocked? Those who do not take alcohol are now a minority. At one time, Kenya was rightly described as a “drinking nation.” Depending on who you talk to, drinking is either heroic or tragic. The result is multiple hurts – broken homes, heartbroken children, talents robbed and possibilities dumped. But even with credible evidence supporting drinking with caution, a culture is brewing and budding where irresponsible drinking is perceived fashionable. Reckless drinking drenches a community with alcohol and the resultant shivers freeze possibilities that could have otherwise meant a better life for the people. Why is romantic love becoming so temporary? Now I love you. Now I don’t. One you are madly in love with today drive you mad tomorrow. Love meant to grant security is a prime source of insecurity. Contemporary marriages have love on breaks. Romantic free-flowing love is rare. Short-term love is in. Long-running love is an exception. Love is doubted. True love has been declared non-existent. Interests and conveniences now rule. Many want to be loved but few are willing to do the work that love deserves. Family life is losing its saltiness.

The church is seeing fewer and fewer people bring their love to the altar. Couples are shaky and afraid that the glorious walk down the aisle may down the line become a walk out of shame. Love ratings are dropping making it undeserving of a spiritual ritual. With no clear custodian, marriages keep stumbling. But a fact still stands as stated in the words a common wedding liturgy: where marriage is held in honour, people know contentment. Where marriage is not respected, a nation fails to prosper.

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