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Culture of reaction: Kenya’s five major undoings
By Stephen Migai | Updated Dec 19, 2018 at 12:06 EAT
President Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyans are more prone to reacting to situations rather than optimally utilizing the available institutions

It is popularly hyped that Kenyans are quick to forget and have a short concentration span

Kenyans are more prone to reacting to situations rather than optimally utilizing the available institutions, security agencies and mechanisms to avert the happening of events we have witnessed in the recent past.

It is popularly hyped that Kenyans are quick to forget and have a short concentration span. The memory of Kenyans is so volatile that they cannot visualize a trend of irresponsibility and abdication of duties from one scandal to another.

The only reason why looters and corrupt leaders make away with a crime is that Kenyans treat each scandal independently, deliberately ignoring any relationship, and the media has enhanced this by highlighting systemic rots without a follow-up on implementation of corrective measures.

In the recent past, Kenyans have witnessed major social evils, deplorable services delivery systems and systemic failures that have gone un-probed in conformity to the culture of reaction, volatility of memory and lack of interoperability of agencies.

KNH Rape Claims

Not many people can remember the first person to highlight this story. Kenyatta National Hospital is a Level-Six referral hospital, the biggest referral facility in the country. Common sense would have it that this state of the art facility should be the most secure health facility for mothers and their mothers. Instead of focusing on the recent rape claims, any Kenyan worth their nationality would question the rationale of detaining mothers and their mothers several days after their delivery. Where were the civil right groups that now claim to fight for the rights of women were when these mothers were detained? What has the security firm manning KNH been all this time? Instead of everybody doing their primary work to ensure the security of patients seeking services at public facilities, these Kenyans were deep asleep, only to pull reactionary drills when the rot has been unearthed. KNH is a multi-agency facility that should be more secure than any some places in the Capital City. A reactionary medical system is nothing less than a death trench. Before reacting to these rape claims, let’s focus on primary service delivery.

The 2-6-3-3-3 New Curriculum

The Ministry of Education has been holding multi-disciplinary consultations with various education stakeholders, including the trade unions on the pragmatic ways of replacing the 8-4-4 curriculum. None of these stakeholders gave their contributions until the last minute when piloting was to commence. Honestly, this is a circus. Trade Unions that have been flushing teachers out of classes to the detriment of our children now pretend to know the needs of the child more than the ministry that fought tooth and nail to cushion the same child against teachers' strike. It may seem that reality dawns on Kenyans quite late and the recent oppositions to the implementation of the 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum are no exception. Had the stakeholders been intentional enough, the issues they raised with the new curriculum would have been handled amicably, paving way for smooth implementation. The reactionary nature of Kenyans is surely destined to delay a lot of practical benefits.

El Ade Attack in Somalia

Media reports were awash with reports after the El Ade massacre of KDF soldiers in Somalia that officers at Defence Headquarters in Nairobi failed to act on intelligence of planned Al Shabaab attack to Major Geoffrey Obwoge’s platoon. Although the truth to this is yet to come out, the truth is that the Defence Headquarters is always in touch with ground soldiers every minute, feeding them with intelligence and receiving situational updates all round the clock. Instead of sending back-up and increasing aerial surveillance before the attack, Defence Headquarters waited for hours to collect bullet-riddled and decomposing bodies of our brothers and sisters. State of the art military hardware was handy at Defense Forces Memorial Hospital. It’s quite absurd that the military can succumb to the amnesia jab that most civilians cave under. Kenyans as well did what they know best; troll KDF on social media and condemn its negligent behavior without anyone bothering to follow-up on a commitment to future preparedness.

Bundling NTSA out of Roads

Kenyan drivers continue to suffer in the hands of NTSA officers, paying fines for driving at mischievous speed limits handwritten on paper without video evidence. As NTSA’s presence in major highways increased, accidents increased in equal measure. Although many questioned the rationale of Traffic Police and NTSA officers independently operating 100m for each other, nobody, including the Traffic Police was proactive enough to petition withdrawal of NTSA from our roads. Although evidence that NTSA officers interference was blamed for traffic snarl-ups in towns, increased bus fares, accidents and increased bribery, Kenyans had to wait for hundreds of innocent lives to die in December 2016 to react. This culture of "wait, see then react" made NTSA get away with unlawful detention of drivers and harassment of other road users.

Nairobi CBD Insecurity

Operation of mugging gangs in Nairobi CBD is no news to any Nairobi resident. This kind of crime has thrived in the capital city, the most guarded city in Kenya because citizens chose to look the other way as their fellow citizens were robbed. With time, the whole thing exploded and media had to highlight it. Kenyans reacted as if they had just landed from Mars. No crime can thrive if Kenyans decide to live in a crime-free country. The highlighting of mugging incidents woke the Nairobi City County Government, NIS, National Police Service, Prison Service and private security firms from their slumber. Now every agency wants to form a special anti-mugging unit after their inactivity was highlighted. Where were all these agencies? What happened to reported cases of theft in the city? Kenyans should recover from this reactionary syndrome and become proactive in preventing crimes and evil through the assumption of responsibility.

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