My computer-generated silence has been linked to various factors but it’s a pleasure to be back.
My current status has me placed in a matatu along Waiyaki way. The skies were kind enough to open up and in true Kenyan fashion the roads transformed into a parking lot. The matatu windows are closed and a certain pungent smell of dampness fills the air. I feel agitated and uncomfortable but as the wise conductors say ” Kama uko na shida, nunua gari yako“. I have occupied a quarter of the sit since the man next to me is so gracious with his legs that he does not seem to see the sense in realizing that his seat is not a sofa. Looking up to the heavens I ask for patience as the man oblivious of his leg ratios swipes through his photo gallery.
I know my sitting rights. However, personal rights do not apply much in the matatu sector. Ranging from the ladies who have conductors on speed dial at the stage to reserve seats for them as if it is JKIA. You should see how they strut along with their supposed “Louis Vuitton Speedy” handbags, skipping our poor souls on the queue next to Archives. There’s the occasional mama with a shuka that keeps bumping you as she adjusts her shuka due to the cold. However, for the mamas there is the inherent respect since they are mothers. Finally, there’s the “y generation” dude or “dudette” that seems to not be able to keep their eyes off my phone. ” Do you want to help me reply to my text?”, my mind echoes but my mouth has learnt not to transmit the data.
I unlock my phone as the only way to gain some sense of good vibe amidst the cocktails of musty shoe smell, dampness and oxygen deprivation. I keep promising myself that I shall get mad and buy a car one day. However, the form 34b result from my bank account indicates that I can only get a bicycle from DT Dobie. Unless I buy 2 car tyres and probably work out on building the body for myself. “Long-term vs short-term plans Baba”, I encourage myself.
Scrolling through my tweets, I land on a tweet by Larry Madowo. I don’t know what happened but the man has gone rogue. Simply no chills in his replies but I like his objective approach to reporting of late. Ghafla bin vu! Lo and Behold!
— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) August 23, 2017
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) August 23, 2017
For a moment, the pungent smell in the vehicle seemed not so bad compared to the contents of the tweets above. Every video replay would trigger a simple question: “WWKD”… What Would Kidero Do? I steal a glance at my hands then silently whisper a prayer to the Man Above for my sinful thoughts. Violence is not the answer. However, it can be a good hint. The nonchalant rumbles by the MP-elect from Kiambu seem to have landed on a raw nerve. I decided to share the tweet with my running mate beside me in the matatu. The abundance of disgust was instantaneously reflected on his face.
My friends in the Audit firms working graveyard shifts as financial ghostbusters yet their accounts dub around a sixth of the MP-elect’s salary. Shouldn’t they be paid well?
Mama mboga on the streets sacrifices her life , comfort and health for that 100 bob per 4 oranges with a potential for bonus if you smile at her. Isn’t she worth something?
Interns being renumerated with Hi5s and a promise for a good future , aren’t they worth something?
Doctors and nurses save lives yet I am guessing the MP-elect doesn’t think that there case is worth something? It’s just a matter of life and death nothing serious really compared to passing laws in the August house.
Teachers handle your childishness, foolishness and adolescence yet are treated as if their cries are unwarranted. Don’t they deserve something ?
I almost turn Meru (boiling blood) as another MP complains that he occasionally welcomes guests at home and that as an African he has to entertain his guests and pay fees for his people. Yet again I ask “WWKD”? I quickly look at my arms just to confirm any possible doubts to my African roots. Is there a special branch of Africans that entertains guests while the other branch is only entertained? The last time I checked all Kenyans have needs, responsibilities and desires for a better life. The only difference is we work hard to achieve our wants or needs. We can debate about the Bet-preneurs and the Sugar-baby-investors at a later period.
“Toa Pesa “, the conductor was quick to remind me that he also wanted his worth. I have never understood why many of them like the delayed tactics when it comes to matters of giving back change. They are quick to forget that they owe you but prompt to remember that you owe them. It’s like you have to persuade them lest your 500 bob becomes a seed in his life. I think the SRC chair Sarah Serem deserves to be added as a character in Game of Thrones (GOT) . Primarily,for her smart move in cutting the wages and gazetting whilst the MPs were gallivanting in the campaign season.
Strangely, there is never a “hacking” allegation when salary matters are concerned. I tend to think that maybe the “10 million strong” slogan had an ommison. It was actually 10 million salary strong and the “tuko pamoja” slogan possibly affirmed that they are all in the 10 million bank account whatsapp group. I think I should contribute to Mutahi Ngunyi’s 5th Estate with my “tyranny of bank balance” conspiracy theory.
The bottleneck around Chiromo slowly gives way and the matatu snakes its way towards Safaricom. Cheers Baba
For us to overcome inequality and marginalization, we should keep our leaders accountable. Kenya is big enough for everyone, but not big enough for others’ greeds.