If you can't make poor people rich, eat them

A woman crushing stones at a quarry in Jaribuni,  Kilifi County. [Maureen Ongala, Standard] 

Season’s Greetings from the Land of the Bold and the Beautiful. Emanyulia was the place to be in the ended festive season. Leafy, serene and salubrious.

Above all, it’s my peaceful and indomitable repository of world literature. I have now returned to noisy necessity. The City of Nairobi. Sirens, screeching brakes and rude motorists.

Uber and boda boda drivers are the pick of the basket. They are graduates of the School of Scandal. They have never heard of manners, courtesy or common decency.

You have your usual rotting garbage, burst sewers and odoriferous emissions. But there is so much other din. Political hullabaloo. It sends me to make a modest proposal.

I admit that the notion of a modest proposal is not original. I have borrowed it from Irishman Jonathan Swift (1667 and 1754). Swift is famous for Gulliver’s Travels, in which he shewed up English customs and politics of the day. 

Yet, A Modest Proposal stands out in its own special way. A year before Dean Swift was born, another great European artist, Jean-Batiste Moliere of France, died in 1753.

Both writers hoped they could correct extravagant misconduct in individuals and society through satire. These satirists could be mistaken for haters of humankind, as has been Alceste in Moliere’s famous play titled, The Misanthrope (1666). Are they? I leave that to you.

Swift famously advised England to eat up children of the poor, as a way of stopping them from being burdens to their parents and countries. Poor people and nations may want to borrow from Swift.

They could ease their economic troubles by selling themselves and their children to the rich, as food. You see, there are all these starving beggars, poor slum families and sundry mendicants. They cause the wealthy to quarrel all the time, about the economy, roads, taxes, judges and stuff.

Just now Nairobi is on fire over taxes, cost of living, affordable housing, roads and the Judiciary. Can’t Nairobi solve all that just by abolishing poverty?

If Nairobi cannot end poverty by making poor people rich, she may wish to consider just eating them. You see, there will be no need for more houses, or roads. The poor are the majority.

When you have eaten them up, the remaining rich can all choose to live in one place. They will have the finest roads in that small rich man’s neighbourhood. They will have superb houses and other modern conveniences. 

There will be no need to take one another to court, and to quarrel over things like corruption in the Judiciary. In fact, courts should be abolished altogether. When you abolish courts, there will be no orders to be disobeyed. Nor will there be corrupt judges to stall government projects.

But, you see, there will also be no projects, because projects are for poor people. There will also be no need for taxation, or need to call anyone pejorative names like “Zakayo.”

Anyone who wants an extra road can build it for himself, without being taxed. So, let us abolish all these things that make us quarrel. Let us abolish schools and examinations.

What do we need schools for? The remaining rich population can just live happily, eating everyday what it has worked for.

This is how we are going to build a paradise; the Kenya we want. There will be no thieves, because rich people do not steal from one another. There will be no need for the police. What would be their role?

No need for all these things we call independent authorities and commissions. No auditors, no controllers of budgets, no Parliament, no political power and elections to fight over. There will be just pure joy. Abolishing the poor is my modest proposal.

-Dr Muluka is a strategic communications advisor