Dear Kenyans, you do not have the simple luxury of accepting the death of a political personality as natural, even if it may be so. If you have your eyes anywhere near half-open, your ears unclogged enough to hear just a whisper, your soul live enough to feel the faintest heartbeat, then you cannot pretend you live in a normal environment.
If you’re getting up every morning with a happy yawn of middle-class contentedness, then you’re probably among thousands in Kenyans who probably see the darkness of despair every day, but you’d rather pretend it’s only the dark shadow of a passing cloud. You probably hear the muffled cries of forgotten citizens every day, but you’d rather pretend it’s the passing sniffles of seasonal poverty. You probably feel the sighs of a people weighed down with dead dreams, but you’d rather pretend it’s the passing sag of temporary weariness.
The environment you pretend not to see breeds a fog of apathy that with time becomes a jungle of heartless survival for the class that is ruled. Robbery, killings, kidnappings, car-jackings, rapes and silent victims are a daily staple in poor neighborhoods and in the dark city inferno where a dense cloud of humanity rises with the night. I’ve seen it, I know it, I’ve walked in it, I’ve been snatched by it, I’ve survived it. So have thousands of others. Daily. It’s not a secret world, but we’d rather pretend it is so that we can wake up in the morning and post a smiling selfie that is thankful to God for the blessing of life. The artificial world of social media is the newest, most potent opium of a broken people.
Meanwhile, the rulers haggle for power in the ruthless markets of cartel politics. When one of them dies, there’s nothing normal about it, simply because the environment he or she lived in is not normal. Remember, they leave behind a long stretch of unresolved assassinations; a pile-up of stolen elections and bitterness packaged into neat boxes of meaningless prayer; a valley of silenced voices and forgotten victims; an endless echo of troubled heartbeats that are always a beat away from eviction, starvation and joblessness. We must stop piling up pretentious prudery and demand a normal environment fit for all citizens; an environment where living in simple dignity allows us all the luxury of dying naturally.
By Mkawasi Mcharo Hall | firstname.lastname@example.org
*Reflections following the death of Kenya's Cabinet Secretary, Gen. Joseph ole Nkaissery, one month before the country's general election.