DANGEROUS TRADES

IKUNDA MWIRIGI: Social evils in society, what do they signal?

Prostitution the growth in numbers just by mere observation is phenomenal

In Summary

•If you look at the level of alcoholic drinks especially of low calibre and even the takers of drugs and other substances it would indicate some desperate groups of people.

•So in a nutshell, we have a gargantuan problem of addressing serious flaws in society but we have to do it soberly.

Sample of alcohol bottles in a liquor shop.
Sample of alcohol bottles in a liquor shop.
Image: COURTESY

The other day I saw a photo on social media of women in Nyandarua digging a grave.

A message was written alongside saying that they are doing so because men have been reduced to alcoholism so were not available for that work.

Often, I have seen on social media and even on major television stations in Kenya women complaining that their men have been reduced to alcoholics.

This is more prominent in Central Kenya. At one time President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a heavy crackdown on alcohol producers and distributors, especially those selling what was referred to as the illicit variety.

During the reign of former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, a lot of restrictions were placed on selling alcohol and a controversial programme on rehabilitating alcoholics was put in place.

As a social scientist and researcher, I have been doing a lot of stuff with youth and even adults in various settings in Kenya.

I have visited all manner of places, including what one would regard as notorious alcohol joints selling varieties of the drinks.

I have met people imbibing liquids and hard stuff in their many settings.

I have also met young people loitering in the morning or lazing around. 

I often ask why they take a lot of substances to keep them in a state of stupor.

They complain they have nothing to do as they have not got a job to occupy them during the day.

Many say that it is a way of keeping their mind cool as they have lives which do not offer them so much hope. 

The education system that we have carried over for many years has reduced the less-educated to no job and little training at tertiary levels.

With revamped tertiary training especially at technical colleges, this has changed a bit.

Previously university education was the key focus at training at tertiary levels. But still, even if we manage to balance the training at tertiary levels and other key outcomes of CBC we still have problems over surplus labour against the market needs if we don’t fix the economy.

This is quite a precarious situation. Even though controlling population growth is a key plank in some of the more popular development models, we have still seen a large population per square kilometres in countries like South Korea using that as a huge dividend.

One can still argue that the large population per square kilometre in the USA than Canada is part of making it a powerful country economically, militarily and diplomatically.

Germany and UK offer some insights in Europe that a relatively high population density per square kilometre is not a problem if the country is well managed and is pushing very hard economically.

If you look at countries like Singapore the huge density has not deterred her match to prosperity.

So our population growth if tapped well means something and should never be a problem but a great opportunity.

At any rate, if we managed our economies well in Africa the huge population would be a key attraction for investors.

The problem we have now is a lot of poverty and our weaknesses of bad politics, corruption, divisiveness along ethnic lines. 

Turning to some findings or from information picked from observations and interactions what could be wrong is a lot that indicates that we have huge opportunities in Kenya much as also we have serious societal problems.

If you dig deeper, the stories may look like society is falling apart. The reality is the prostitution is part of a response to earn living by all means possible for a large segment of them. 

The economic conditions push part of the society to such dangerous health threatening trades.

Part of them obviously could be guys who have been lured to it by other factors that include family breakdowns and bad habits.

If you look at the level of alcoholic drinks especially of low calibre and even the takers of drugs and others substances it would indicate some desperate groups of people.

Even with massive crackdowns on youths and even so many adult idlers, it will still amount to the same behaviour and consequences.

We have witnessed when you crack down on established beer market say in form of taxes or even if there is a genuine need to raise them to earn the country much-needed revenue for government programmes the underworld production and market grows phenomenally.

So in a nutshell, we have a gargantuan problem of addressing serious flaws in society but we have to do it soberly.

It is easier to condemn the guys involved or caught up with the vice but the addressing of this is not by wielding the big stick but dealing with the key root cause.

The cause starts with fixing the economy. Punishing without finding a solution is just scratching a bit of the problem with the end game being a failure.

The challenge is addressing idleness brought about by having nothing or very little to do for so many people.

Yet still, frustrations will always find solace in imbibing in substances or such bad habits if we don’t offer much hope to the people.

The price we pay for a bad economy in human lives is enormous. 

Political, economic, social analyst and commentator

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris