Daily Archives: April 7, 2014

Dear Mr. President – or whoever it is that is running the country

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Dear Madam/Sir,

Good day and I trust that you are keeping well. Just a request before I start – please pass on this note to whoever is currently running Kenya? Thanks.

Kenya was renowned world over for being the oasis in Africa where there was no drama, conflict or senseless killings that had plagued other African countries. We had lived in relative bliss – there had been clashes and fights between different communities – but we were thriving as a country. Before 2007, the economic growth rate in Kenya was in the double digits. After the elections violence, things went downhill. But we had hope that the next president elected in 2013 would make a difference, that we would go back to being proud of our land.

Come 2014. And the people I know, the people I see and the people I hear of are in such a pit of despair.

Women screaming in town because their purses / earrings / necklaces had been snatched was a thing of the past. Street families hounding visitors and street boys threatening people with faeces was something we had forgotten. It is something we are coming to remember very quickly. I doubt that you ever have the need to walk in town, but let me just let you know. It is not safe.

I can’t even talk about Al-Shabaab and all the grenades, home made bombs and gun related attacks. In Kenya.

My sister can no longer walk from the bus stop to the house past 6pm. She was robbed by goons riding a motorcycle and everything she had was stolen. I can’t even walk / jog on Ngong Road, people have been robbed of their phones, earphones and shoes while jogging in the morning!

My house-help gave birth to a healthy baby boy who had a touch of colic. They took the baby to hospital and the nurses injected the little boy with something that wasn’t explained to the parents. The boy died instantly. And the hospital CEO branded one of my friends an “alarmist” because she brought this case and others that have happened in that hospital to his attention. People are dying because they cannot afford healthcare – some of the comprehensive covers cost Kshs. 5,000 a month and MOST people cannot afford to have this cover. And we had a Minister of Health who castigated Kenyans for travelling to India and other countries to seek for special medical care when “we have the best hospitals with the best equipment available”. It was sad to see him diagnosed with cancer. He went to States for treatment. Lucky him, he could afford better services than India.

In a country where 51% of the population is made up of women, why is there a discrepancy in regards to gender enrollment to our education systems?  It doesn’t matter what schooling stage you look at, there are more boys enrolled in school than girls. Is all we care about free laptops regardless of who is actually in school?

Road accidents are just what hurts me the most. They are no longer accidents. Accidents by definition are “unfortunate incidents that happen unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury” What is happening on our roads is not unexpected – when you drive on the road while drunk, results are not unexpected; the accidents are not unintentional – the policemen that accept bribes and allow drunk drivers, overloaded vehicles and careless drivers back on the road are very intentional in their dealings and the only thing that applies is that there is a lot of damage, injury and death. Did you know this?

Nairobi is now the most expensive city in Africa. With over 1 million residents, the Kibera slum is  part of the same Nairobi that is the most expensive city in Africa.  The residents in Kibera struggle to have more than one meal a day, with most of them living in temporary shelters (cardboard boxes, polythene bags) and having to walk kilometers per day to look for casual jobs that will guarantee their next meal. Most of these casual labourors are paid less than Kshs. 200 per day and they are not guaranteed of a job everyday. In this same Nairobi, we have people going on record saying that they have purchased hair weaves for Kshs. 500,000 and that they can never eat in restaurants that charge less than Kshs. 1,000 for a meal. Is it a wonder that the crime rates are soaring? The divide between the rich and the poor is growing wider and wider.

The banking sector is just a mess. I have heard of so many examples of where banks decide what to do with your money without your consent. And there is nothing you can do about it. Other than keep on visiting the bank to make your complaint. I have had to make a monthly visit (and when away send a monthly e-mail) to tell my bank to reverse the deduction they are still taking for a bank loan that I completed paying last year in August.  I hear there are millions sitting in reserves from people who have passed away but whose families are not aware of the money that was saved in certain banks – and you’d think that the banks would contact the next of kin, right? Wrong.

Dear whoever it is that is running the country, this note is to ask a simple question. What can I, Njenva, do to change the trends and make sure that my country doesn’t become a failed state? Kenya is currently number 17 in the Failed State Index ranking and I am in shock that countries such as Eritrea, North Korea and Egypt scored better than we did.  What can I do to change this? I thought the Members of Parliament would help. But they are too busy increasing their perks and salaries to ensure that they can provide for the multi wives they have legalised. Can’t talk to the Kenyan next to me; they have been mugged, raped, robbed and still have to use flying toilets, FSI ranking is currently not a priority for them, they are still trying to scrap together their dignity and self worth. It would have been nice maybe to have the army restore sanity on the streets and on the roads but we all know that we can’t really trust them especially after the Westgate debacle. A Bible Study leader asked this question on Sunday, “How much are we spending to conserve the rhino’s horn and how much are we even thinking of using to protect our people?”

Since you are the leader, you might have a better insight to what I can do because truth be told, I am at my wits end.

Yours,

Sijivunii kuwa Mkenya.