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On greed, we are all guilty

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Ann Mukei | October 25th 2015

A rather unfortunate situation is going on in Kenya’s politico-economic scene. What once looked like a circus is becoming a worrying trend. Bank interest rates are edging towards an all-time high and the economy is sinking.

It does not take a genius to figure out why this is happening. When we realised our independence and attained internal self-rule, our focus shifted from love for our country to love for self.

The more we attained, the more we felt in control.

This trend has grown over the years, reaching suicidal levels.

Year after year, our leaders manage to dupe us that they will serve us selflessly, but shockingly, after every term, our elected leaders walk away richer, having dipped their fingers into coffers they should never have.

Today, the country is reeling from all sorts of economic ills, but who are we to entirely blame our corrupt and thieving politicians? Most of us seem to have attended similar classes with them.

We are engulfed by the spirit of acquisition; the more we have, the more important and achieved we feel. The more we acquire now, the more we want tomorrow.

Like a bottomless pit, we demand for more.

I, too, am guilty. On numerous occasions, I have stood in my bedroom wondering what to wear, yet my wardrobe is full of clothes and shoes.

I am yet to understand why I feel compelled to want more of these yet there are those with barely enough. I guess this explains why greedy politicians resort to corruption.

Whilst I want to dress in nice clothes and look good, I am challenged by a friend who runs a children’s home who confessed that she does not buy clothes.

Not because she has enough but because she is just fine with having three dresses that she can wash and wear without inconvenience.

I also marvel at my seemingly content friend who has lived in a bare living room for the last three years, save for his book shelves and pouf-furnished balcony.

He has the money to furnish if he wanted to, but he finds more value in austerity. It must be the culture of materialism that has driven society to carry so much garbage. What do you need in and from life, do you need all that you are carrying?

Is it not easier to travel light? Free from all that baggage and garbage that you have acquired from life over the years.

Free from the guilt and temptation of taking more than you need. This must be the only way to be free from a world trapped by vices.

As we aim to build our moral, social and psychological fabric, we could borrow a leaf from Rwanda, a country that has been through the worst genocide in human history.

Is it any wonder that President Paul Kagame often drives himself? It is never too late to travel light. Today is a good start.

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