POWER OF THE BOTTLE

Covidnomics: How one for the road makes world run around

What is this that connects the night with our health and that of the economy?

In Summary

• Think of this. A man and his friends decide to have one for the road. They go to a ‘joint’ after hours to unwind.

• To facilitate this comfort, other people must supply the joint with booze and food, providing ready market for the alcohol company, farmers and butchers, including the local grocer.

A file photo of revellers in a night club, Nairobi
A file photo of revellers in a night club, Nairobi
Image: ENOS TECHE

"Slayqueens’s on social media have been complaining about how their ‘sponsors’ are unavailable since their wives had tucked them safely at home.

 

They indicate willingness to take a ‘pay cut’ so long as the money keeps flowing. This looks simplistic and jocular right, but if you look keenly, you discover that indeed, there is connectivity to the economics of Covid-19 (covidnomics).

So, why are people broke in the first place and how comes the majority of them are complaining of not having food, rent but not school fees? How comes landlords are complaining that their rental income has dipped and that hotels aren’t as occupied?

Come to think of it, the curfew is only happening at night, initially at 7pm but now pushed to 9pm right? So what then is the connection with the two contradicting matters of health and the economy that any government must address during these tough pandemic times?

One can argue that initially, the disease was external in that it spread from those who had travelled outside the country. In fact, it looked like a White man’s disease until a young woman from Rongai tested positive, having travelled from the US via London on March 5. Remember how a whole bloc of flats was fumigated, including the matatu that she used from town; never mind how it was traced. However, this didn’t reduce the spread of the disease to community level, thus rendering those border-based adverts irrelevant as soon as the advertising agencies had pocketed their Covid-19 millions.

Now other than these disasterpreneurs, how is any other Kenyan faring on? How comes our hospitals have been largely empty, despite the expectation that they would be teaming with patients procuring medicaments to cure the small stuff to avoid the big stuff that is the combination of Covid-19 and pre-existing conditions?

Let’s go back to our night curfew. What is this that connects the night with our health and that of the economy? What is this about the night that helps reduce the spread of the virus while at the same time disproportionately affects the economy?

Think of this. A man and his friends decide to have one for the road. They go to a ‘joint’ after hours to unwind. This means they can stay up late, especially on weekends. To facilitate this comfort, other people must supply the joint with booze and food. The friends use their vehicles to the venue, hence fuel, giving income to not only the owner but the single man or woman supporting their parents back at home. Will they get married during these tough times, and where will the politician find such a readymade political rally, now that funerals are taking less than hour?

 

Back to the man and his friends. They will order meat, ugali and kachumbari, providing ready market for farmers and butchers, including the local grocer.

The men are joined by their lady friends popularly known in the city as slayqueens. To the joint, they use an Uber or matatu, providing revenue to the drivers and conductors. In the meantime, some accidents happen since someone has taken too much for the road, thus giving business to the breakdown guy, the police need to be present; the mechanics have some work for the following day, not to mention the insurance broker, if at all.

Think of the guy who fixes the lights for the night, and the vendor who sells sweets, nuts and other paraphernalia outside the joint. There are also hawkers selling all manner of wares from socks, belts, shoes padlocks and the inner garments. If the guy decides to take up some room in a hotel and order something from the kitchen, is this not the income that pays the cleaner and the cook?

He also parts with some cash as tip for salon money and the slayqueen’s rent for a bedsitter or one-bedroom house. Is this not the rent that the landlord is waiting for at the end of the month and the salonist too? Oh, what about the man’s car getting pimped at the nearby carwash as other boys get a quick haircut?

Is it also true that many of the diseases emanate from poor hygiene in eateries and joints? And this new culture of washing hands, not touching one another in the spirit of social distance, does it make people to be less touchy?

And the courts are now virtual and the lawyers are complaining of fewer cases (read offenders). And why are people not flocking to churches to repent? Is it because they are ‘sinning’ less or that they don’t have tithe and offering? So the many vehicles you see at Bypass in Kamakis have got something to do with the cash or lack of it in your pocket.

Now you know!