Pulling rank is not going to work in 2024

The days of ‘Do you know who I am?’ are long gone

In Summary

• Stop acting like a fool in public because you know someone in office

Screengrab of a woman and man who were caught on camera at a hospital in Busia
Screengrab of a woman and man who were caught on camera at a hospital in Busia

By now we have seen the video of the woman who went on a rampage at a Busia hospital. According to sources, the woman began attacking nurses and destroying the nurses’ station because the staff would not attend to her relative fast enough. The woman proceeded to hurl insults at the staff, threatening that she was going to call “Ababu”.

Okay. First and foremost, we have all been in situations where we feel victimised and inferior even though we have a right to be treated equally and fairly. We have all been to hospitals, government offices and service centres and received the crappiest treatment, but none of us have ever wanted to upturn a nurses station or furniture because we are infuriated.

It doesn't mean that we don’t want to some of us are capable of doing much worse than what Vanessa did but we remember we are members of a civilised society. Nobody owes us anything. In fact, in times of desperation, most of us will be willing to beg for assistance.

As someone who often does not take bad services lightly, I know when to complain and most importantly, who to express my complaints to. Why would I attack a mere employee who is following directives? Yes, sometimes employees are bad, but yelling at them is not going to change anything. As much as I have mastered the skill of lodging formal complaints in places where services are bad (especially those I pay for), I learnt a long time ago that there is a golden rule when dealing with civil servants in Kenya.

Civil servants and public servants, in Africa as a whole, like to play demi-god. They will take out their petty frustrations on you. They will act like your troubles are none of their problem (yet it’s their job), and they will treat you accordingly if you act snobbishly. I learnt a long time ago that it is not my place to correct the system, that my rights are dependent on others, that if I want to be helped, especially in a government facility, I put my tail between my legs.

If you really need assistance, then humbling yourself will not make you any less of a man or woman. Even in times of life and death, you find that pleading with a person’s conscience will probably get you further than it would if you acted a fool. It’s not the nicest feeling in the world to humble yourself when you are victimised, but the ways of the world are not always fair.  

Secondly and most importantly, it's 2024. If you act like a fool, you will be recorded and posted on the Internet for the whole world to see, and your shame will live on the digital sphere in perpetuity. In this day and age, we don’t tolerate people who act like fools and then try to pull rank. “Do you know who I am?” No, do you? If you know who you are, then why do you need to go around asking strangers if they know you?

Pulling rank is old, irrelevant and futile in today’s society. No one cares who you are, who you know, who your daddy is or who your daddy knows. We only care about what you did. If you want to know how irrelevant a title and wealth is when it comes to matters of public opinion, just ask Prince Andrew. His mother’s favourite child and son of the most powerful Queen in recent history, yet he’s still in the trenches by himself.

So this goes as a reminder to all the side pieces, relatives and friends to high-profile people. Stop invoking politicians’ names like it will strike fear into our hearts. The days of one-party state and authoritarian regimes are long gone. In all honesty, even your high-profile friends and relatives are as powerless as you are, and considering that they have more to lose, they are much less likely to act a fool in public than you are.  

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