“For convenience we’ve gotten accustomed to telling lies we don’t believe to enjoy the benefits we don’t deserve while failing to uproot deep rooted dissatisfactions.”
Through this week I’ve been debating this subject on convenience and lies with a focus on the interface between the two. To give a background, 1st June is Madaraka Day in Kenya, a day commemorated to mark the day in 1963 when Kenya attained internal self rule. Over the past 58 years, as a country we’ve made progress while on some fronts we’ve performed dismally. On the backdrop of this and considering the level of dissatisfaction as citizens we’ve had with ruling class especially the reigning President, there’s minimal chance a right thinking Kenyan would sing praises of him on any occasion. This level of dissatisfaction was even recently evidenced before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lent the government loans upon which Kenyans went to social media to advise IMF against lending Kenyan Government any more funds as reported by the BBC here. With this as a backdrop, nobody would expect any Kenyan to sing praises of the very individual who have publicly declared his inability to tackle corruption, struggling economy and ballooning debt. To the contrary during the Madaraka Celebrations which was hosted for the first time in Kisumu (backyard to the longest serving opposition leader, Raila Odinga), I was alarmed to witness musicians present songs of praises to the President with claims on his wisdom, good leadership and vision. I later had a discussion on the same with a couple of friends who attributed this to the fact that it was a way for them to earn a living by singing praises of the President while at the core they knew quiet well that the government had failed under the current leadership. This then brings me to the point of convenient lies. We as individuals would go the extra mile to tell well crafted lies for our immediate gratification and wins without as much regard to the implications for future generations. I keep asking myself what would future generations think of such a President if the only reference they have of him is this song of convenience full of praises yet in reality they’ll be paying debts they don’t understand their genesis.
Such incidents have been a common occurrence but unfortunately as Kenyans we celebrate in the moment and cry fowl later when we are at our worst. In 2017 before the general elections, Ben Githae a local artist sang of the ruling duo i.e. Uhuru Kenyatta & William Ruto in praise of their performance and the spectacular achievements they had made. Later on this year, we had Kenyans go to social media to express their rage blaming him of influencing their decisions while in an interview he expresses that this was his way of making a living. Kenyan is then just a country of convenience or rather we are people of convenience hence we go for what grants us what we need at that moment. The high of the moment if I could call it that.
On another note to bring it closer home, when we weigh in on our financial decisions we often acclaim that we only live ones and our choices are based on what we desire. On this account then as we convince ourselves on the need to save, invest and live within our means, some go above and beyond to justify their poor financial management using such claims as that is a way to invest in their wellbeing. I don’t refute this at all but rather I wonder what we consider the costs of such decisions to be in our future or don’t we look into a future we wish and hope for better outcomes in? Don’t we love ourselves enough to aspire for greatness and if so what does it take for us to look ourselves in the mirror and go by the hard truths rather than convenient lies?
I believe and I urge each of us to take time to question some of the common narratives we tell ourselves and the masses. Are they for convenience or do we believe in them? What kind of a future do we hope for and what measures are we putting in place to realize these aspirations? Let time not tell for you but rather make the decision for yourself and work towards it.