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Opinion: Curfew road block drama was to teach middle class a lesson

By Carol Nyaga | April 18th 2021

The traffic snarl-up on Thika Road on Saturday night past curfew.

My take: I hope you middle class realize that the roadblocks last night had little to do with the virus and a lot to do with putting you in your place. You guys have the mistaken belief that because you have a 'connection' higher up, you're insulated from govt injustices.

Need a Covid-19 vaccine even though you're not in a vulnerable group? No problem! Caught partying after curfew hours? One phone call to nani will sort you! Need a passport or birth cert quick-fast-in-a-hurry? Money ain't a thing! Do you think that injustice won't find you? Wrong.

What you experienced last night is just a sliver of what ordinary Kenyans have to go through every day. Mama mboga being harassed by kanju, matatu passengers being harassed by cops, the woman chasing her husband's death certificate for months. That's everyday Kenyan life. 

When Muigai calls for a lockdown that makes no sense & thousands of Kenyans lose their livelihoods, but you refuse to protest it because, well, your employer still allows you to work from home and your only inconvenience is that the neighborhood bar is 'officially' closed.

When the government refuses to equip public hospitals and county governments to fire their health workers for protesting deplorable working conditions and delayed salaries, but you don't think it's a big deal because your medical cover is still active and you can go to Aga Khan or MP Shah.

When the effect of irrationally higher fuel prices means that thousands will have to cut down to one meal per day so they can commute to work, but for you, it simply means a downgrade from V-Power to unleaded, so you choose to keep silent because it doesn't affect you.

When Parliament is so glaringly failing at its responsibilities to citizens, but you know an MP or two and once in a while they throw drinks your way at your local and they've also promised to hook you up with a ka-tender, so now you have clout and 'know' people.

Your child did KCPE and passed very well and so that guy you know who has a hookup at the Ministry will 'sort' you with getting that slot at The Alliance High School, overlooking the fact that thousands of deserving children will miss an opportunity to attend high school.

Because your government consistently refuses to invest in school infrastructure that matches population growth and refuses to hire the right amount of teachers and invest in the right textbooks and lab equipment, but your child is sorted so hey?

Now I'm not saying that some of you didn't have a genuine reason to be out & about at 8pm. Perhaps you did. I'm saying that yesterday's roadblocks were another illustration of a government that's so far removed from the realities on the ground that they can't think beyond the.

An insatiable urge to keep reminding the natives that they are in charge. They have no interest whatsoever to make your life comfortable... In fact, they delight in your suffering because it satisfies their egos. Who cares if you have to spend a night in your car?

Do you think you can 'connect' your way out of bad governance? Who would you have called last night to bail you out? Nobody. Because your government is irrational and incompetent and nobody can save you from that.

So next time you come across activists agitating for working systems and calling for justice, don't just keep silent and retreat to your illusion of comfort: join the street protests, contribute to the conversation. Because injustice against one of us affects all of us.

-Nyaga is a marketing and communications professional

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