Mzalendo Vox Pop: Benji asks "What More Can We Do?

Posted by on 6th April 2011

Categories:   Citizen Engagement Vox Pop

Guest blog by Benji

Something I witnessed a few weeks ago made me think hard about the quality of the average Kenyan’s life even as politicians squabble and waste valuable resources.

Driving along Mombasa road on a Saturday evening, I encountered gridlock traffic and I thought to myself there must be a horrible accident up ahead.  15 minutes later, I approached a corpse in the middle of the road whose arm had been severed off. The arm lay on the tarmac 10 metres from the body.  It was a gut wrenching sight. A lone traffic cop assisted by what I thought to be a medic, helped drag the corpse to the side of the road.  Our officers are ill-equipped and of the men that helped drag the body, immediately found a stainless steel lamp post whence he began to wipe his hands while bending over.
Folks, this in a country where Kshs 270 billion is squandered every year through wastage and corruption.  The new constitution we just passed, is not supposed to be just a pretty document -it is the envy of many countries in the region. It provides us fundamental rights and ideals but most Kenyans are living a life of misery and neglect and scrounging like rats.  Some examples:

  1. A few months ago a traffic police officer manning Mombasa road and deployed to manage traffic while President Kibaki was travelling, was knocked down by a speeding vehicle and died on the spot. The officer lay on the side of the road in full uniform for several hours.  Nothing much has been said about this incident but it is our hope that the administration quietly went back to condole a family whose breadwinner fell in the line of duty and offered support. That is our hope and we will be writing a letter to State House and relevant authorities seeking some answers.
  2. Did you all see the story on Mathari Hospital by David McKenzie, where a patient was held in the same room as a corpse?  Apparently, patients on receiving treatment are held while they scramble around to raise hospital fees from relatives and friends. The CNN crew investigating this story was locked up for 3 hours, illegally detained and it took phone calls to the Prime Minister’s office to secure their release.

This is the Kenya we’re living in ladies and gentlemen, where the government does not see it fit to even subsidize mental health services but is all too willing to spend tax payer money buying space in the dailies to defend ICC suspects, fuelling a jet for Kalonzo to criss cross the continent and spend the remainder of the time hurling insults and epithets at each other.

What more can we do?