Communication

A child throwing tantrums and a bully in school are an all too familiar sight. The former hasn’t learnt to communicate his needs well but knows his fits yield results, the latter craves attention and figures that ‘heaven is taken by violence’.

A recent occurrence draws parallel to these two scenarios. Former cabinet secretary, Ms. Anne Waiguru, had to step down from office on health grounds – this after hue and cry over corruption scandals unravelled in her ministry, never mind it was she who ordered investigations that revealed the same, or so she says.

The general public went on the rampage by pouring bile through social media. For a time they let out a cry for justice but eventually bayed for blood when targeted ears proved well waxed.

The crying was not sin, it was commendable if not heroic. Bullying is the point of contention. Figuratively speaking, Ms. Waiguru was undressed in the public square and I cannot clearly ascertain that the nudity exposed was truth or mere description borne out of lewd imagination.

We had gotten onto the bare floor, crying about lost funds, exorbitant spending, and double standards in the government’s fight against corruption. Rather than bear fruit, it bred contempt. Ms. Waiguru would stay put, we were told.

Insult had been added to injury and the populous whined and whined some more. Objectivity was lost in the melee, so that rather than speak about the pain of the pinching shoe there was screaming and hurling of insults. This may have been justified because nobody in authority seemed to listen. Salt had been rubbed into the wound by affirming that Madam was there to stay, accusation notwithstanding.
The tyrade raged and it turned ugly. She was called names, her person getting battered and dragged through murk. The masses became a bully and like a rusted bolt, authorities remained stubbornly firm but when the wrench persisted there was a turn. Scales fell off and the nut gave way, the cabinet secretary eventually tendering her resignation on health grounds. She could no longer stand the heat.

This was both good and bad. Good that the person seen as a problem bowed out, and bad because it affirmed the effectiveness of the strategy the masses had employed – one that had earlier seen CNN allude to an apology and pull down a headline after the infamous ‘Kenyans on Twitter’ raised dust.

When a young one is all up squirming and rolling with lungs at maximum decibel, he should at best be ignored and taught to express his needs in words. When the said need cannot be met at all, he is made to understand that one sometimes has to do without certain things until they can be afforded or viable alternatives procured.

Responsibility thus lies on two persons: the adult to patiently wait for the tantrum to pass and do the explaining – and this may not succeed on the first go – and the child to realise that their best interest is always held at heart.

In our case I would say the ‘adult’ was wrong and my narrative expectedly should be one to outline what the government ought to do. I will not go there. They are the adult and so will best choose what to do with themselves.

The allegory bears we the society as the child, only that this time, in my opinion, the tantrum and bullying was justified. My belief however, is that we should act wiser and choose to communicate our needs more articulately. Let us point out the ills, support our claim with credible evidence and stick to that.

Should the call be ignored, we should press the facts all the more harder. This way, the big guns will know that they cannot cover their tracks with the ‘my community’ or ‘my gender’ is besieged talk. We will have ground to secure unity among the people as facts will subvert any attempt at sneaking in ethnicity. If we just whine and bully they ever will get away with their sins and rely on the repeated occurrence of storms eventually dying down.

With the same spirit we rally each other to collect colossal sums of money towards medical treatment of fellow citizens and for disaster management, we can collect funds for private prosecution. If authorities will not take action, we could do it. Slowly but surely we will get to the place we want to be – a nation where impunity is not condoned and where citizens can take action constructively.

This may appear a pipe dream but aren’t dreams valid? Yes, solutions to every tough fix start with a dream – and the will to implement that dream no matter how difficult it may seem.

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