In my eventful life so far I have seen how devastating fear can be.
Fear is a terribly powerful emotion. It causes people to be desperate and to behave in very strange ways.
I have seen people freeze in fear even as imminent danger hurtles towards them. I have seen intelligent people freeze in fear and stage fright and make a complete fool of themselves trying to speak in public.
And so I really fear fear itself. That is probably one of the reasons why I have always tried hard to fight fear in all its’ forms. Many times I have ended up making decisions which have horrified others. Don’t you fear this and that, some have asked me?
Currently in Kenya I see fear in many of our dear brothers and sisters who are going to vote No. Some people fear (quite rightly) that they will lose their ill-gotten wealth. Many of the older folks just have a fear of the unknown. Many others fear change and prefer to remain suffering rather than to risk change.
But the truth is that what Kenyans should really fear is the draft constitution failing to be passed. You do not want to imagine the consequences of that happening.
For years I have talked in this blog about the growing hopelessness in Kenyans. Hardly anybody has linked the election troubles of 2007 to this hopelessness and yet it was a major catalyst. Not many people appreciate the daily struggles most Kenyans have to go through just to get by. Most fascinatingly church leaders have failed to appreciate this important point in their decision to campaign for a no vote. It is probably the best illustration of how the prosperity gospel has taken over so much so that church leaders living in great luxury have failed to fully appreciate what their flocks are up against in their daily struggle for survival.
My analysis on the ground is that the International community was absolutely spot on in their determination to do everything in their power to ensure that Kenyans do not go to the polls again without major reforms first. To them this was a recipe for disaster and the kind of trouble that would have made 2007 look like child’s play. The pressure thye have brought to bear has done a lot in helping Kenyans reach where they are today, literally on the verge of a brand new constitution.
I am well aware that in writing this post I have lost many avid Kumekucha readers and so let me end it with just one every day illustration to drive my point home.
In a supermarket in Nairobi, a man walks in on impulse to pick a few things and ends up spending Kshs 10,000 just like that. He meets at the counter with another harassed looking Kenyan who has walked all the way from Kibera to town to purchase an item costing less than Kshs 30/- because it is Kshs 5/- cheaper in town (a 40 minutes walk) than it is in his local neighborhood duka in Kibera. The man has never handled Kshs 5,000 as a lump sum in his pocket in his entire miserable lifetime and is amazed that anybody should spend Kshs 10,000 in a supermarket and would have probably fainted if he realized that it was spent impulsively without any pre-meditated plan.
Simple question; how long do you think we will be able to flout our cash around even as our fellow countrymen starve and struggle to survive? It does not matter how high the fences are around our exclusive apartments in good neighbourhoods and it does not matter that we use the latest technology and security electronics and then swagger to our favourite watering hole on Saturdays wearing designer red t-shirts to look intelligent arguing with friends why we will vote NO, without fail.
It doesn’t matter because if we succeed it will come back to haunt us. Guaranteed!!!
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