COVID-19 LESSONS

Rule of law can be attained if danger is real

It also means that if there is political goodwill, laws can be changed to better the country and continent

In Summary

• A natural danger like the fear of loss of life appears to be the most effective, such that the public executions of the corrupt in china, has led to the prosperity of this once very poor country.

 
• If we can put such practices here in Kenya, we will deal with the great violators of the rules such as our leaders who are the essence of impunity.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja before a Kasarani court on Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja before a Kasarani court on Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Image: CAROLYNE KUBWA

Dear fellow Kenyans,

This is an introspection of ourselves as a country and as a people. It’s because the Covid-19 pandemic has given us an opportunity to think through and to look back at who we really are. Some kind of a slowdown of sorts to help us think through what could really happen, especially when things go wrong.

This week has been rather perturbing to see a great soul such as Johnson Sakaja, the ‘super’ senator of Nairobi, who heretofore had managed to cut an admirably clean image, get caught up in the mundane of curfew violation, due to drinking after hours.

It’s sad because many Kenyans harbour hopes for a better leadership in the younger crop of politicians like him. The good thing about it is that though he initially denied the incident, he later on owned up, was charged and released with a fine of Sh15,000. This is something that many leaders wouldn’t do due to our legal regime of innocent till proven guilty.

Sakaja’s action was in itself a shot in the arm for the rule of law. In fact, his lawyer, John Khaminwa, the great legal mind was agape when his client gave him instructions to plead guilty.

The other new phenomenon in town is that there has been a serious slowdown of economic activity, despite the opening up of the borders of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area. This is interesting because no one thought the Covid-19 numbers would make people take so much precaution about themselves that they would rather miss economic opportunities than test positive for coronavirus. The interesting bit though is that while the practice of washing hands was taught to us during our primary years, most of us ignored it, only to discover in our adulthood that indeed it’s a disease protector. Talk of following simple basic rules.

Many hospitals are witnessing a reduced number of patients other than those who have contracted Covid-19. I recently visited The Nairobi Hospital, only to discover very limited human traffic in the compound and the turnaround time has since been greatly improved.

This demonstrates the fact that while people have learnt to nurse themselves for non-threatening ailments through home-based care, many diseases emanate from poor hygienic conditions, especially through the contamination of our hands.

It thus looks probable that wash basins, soap and water is all that humankind needs to live longer and enjoy more quality life, and that this needs to be incorporated in our daily lives as prevention is better than cure.

The fact that such patronising yet simple and effective instructions that we chose to ignore can bring down economies such as New York and Beijing, the heart of the two major world economies, has a lot to do with the future of work and human progress. That it has become even more dangerous for example to visit the US rather than Africa, is a story that needs to be told to many generations to come as a narrative for self-affirmation.

Inventions and innovations are not just resident in a specific population and not others. Some two young men from Kiambu are smiling all the way to the bank, after having made some hospital beds locally and the President then instructed that the government to buy at least 500 of them. This is good news because we have been reduced to consumers as a country rather than producers, despite our high human potential.

It also means that if there is political goodwill, laws can be changed to make sure we buy locally manufactured goods and that if we amplify the belief in ourselves, we can go far as a people, country and continent. It’s also no longer practicable for the political class to use self-mobilised gatherings such as funerals and churches to politic. The masses have also since discovered that you don’t need to go to church to hear the word of God or to tithe, for you can send M-Pesa as well, if that is what the clergy needs for their upkeep. Churches have thus been exposed as any other money making venture.

There is also the other side of bad hygiene, of people putting their hands in the tills of public coffers. How could one possibly explain the simmering Sh7 billion single sourced contract for PPE by Kemsa? What a colossal amount of money to one supplier in the name of the pandemic? This kind of bad manners is what is seriously hampering our growth as a nation.

In short, with the right kind of danger levels, the rule of law can actually be effected. A natural danger like the fear of loss of life appears to be the most effective, such that the public executions of the corrupt in china, has led to the prosperity of this once very poor country.

If we can put such practices here in Kenya, we will deal with the great violators of the rules such as our leaders who are the essence of impunity. Talk of the fish rotting from the head.