I try to keep this blog free of the profanities that litter my everyday speech, but for this post I am willing to make an exception: I am so pleased that I am not in Kenya right now, because I am fit to cut a bitch. Several bitches, actually.
The bitches in question are the scoundrels, crooks and charlatans that masquerade as public servants, and the supine media that are not doing enought to expose their shortcomings. Conditions for a perfect storm are brewing, where a combination of political imputiny, food scarcity, poverty and rising living costs could instigate an orgy of civil unrest, despite the fact that we are still recovering from the post-election violence of last year.
Our political class can only be described as fiddling while Rome burns. The Finance Ministry has promised to sort out the otiose regulatory framework in the capital markets, but so far the cretins who have failed to do anything thus far remain in their posts. The global economic crisis is blamed for slowing down growth over here, yet the only solution put forward by Uhuru Kenyatta in a meeting with foreign ministers is to ask the big boys to get their houses in order so that we toddlers can get back to building sandcastles. All of the recent initiatives that have been announced are far too little, far too late. I am in no way an expert, but if I could see this coming from miles away, why were ministers and permanent secretaries asleep on the job? What have they been doing? They’re expected to lead the country out of a crisis; I doubt they could lead the way from the front door to the lounge of their own houses.
The economy is in the toilet and foreign investors may not want to return even if the worldwide downturn is short-lived. But our politicians have better things to worry about. Not content with claiming vast salaries that are the envy of politicians even in the developed world, they now want to be compensated for the indignity of being required to pay taxes. Not only that, but they even want their charitable donations being reimbursed. It’s charity, people! You’re not expected to get it back. If you feel as though donating is like losing money, then just don’t give. These same people whining that taxes are taking food out of their mouths have attendance records so bad that the only time Parliament can be guaranteed to have a full house is if they’re voting on the latest perk for elected officials. Do you think they’d agree to performance-related pay? That would be interesting.
In the meantime, what do our elected representatives have in store for us, the people who have granted them access to such largesse? Why, because they eat up such a huge proportion of the tax take in their salaries and allowances, they want to rescue the Treasury accounts by taxing us more. That’s right; tax-dodgers have decided that taxpayers need to pay more. And not just taxpayers, no! Even the unemployed are expected to pony up and make a contribution. It’s for the good of the nation, don’t you know? Tell me, how exactly do you get taxes from somebody with no money? Actually, don’t tell me. Just ask the unemployed if they’ve ever thought of selling a kidney.
I’m not totally on board with Kenyan Entrepreneur’s suggestion that the country is incapable of being a functioning democracy and that what we need is a benign dictatorship. But faced with the cavalcade of crooks and incompetents, it does seem like an appealing idea, if we could get the right dictator. Currently, despite all the promises of reform and a new political era since Moi took his enforced retirement, we just seem to vote for more of the same. Why? Because they buy our votes with all that lovely money our taxes have given them! Truly, the Kenyan electorate is like an abused wife who goes back to her spouse when he promises that this time, he really has changed.
Business is suffering. The cost of living continues to gallop ahead while earnings remain the same. And now we are expected to shoulder an even greater burden while those who purportedly serve our interests make no concrete moves to alleviate our problems. They call conferences and fulsomely promise action before wondering if lunch will be a buffet or a three-course meal. I’m convinced it’s actually an elaborate conspiracy: having realised that the current system isn’t working, Kenyan politicians have decided to piss us all off until we crack and forment violent revolution to get rid of them. Because then, we’ll have to start again, and some of them may even survive with their necks intact.
The USA? Born of revolution. France? Born of revolution. China? Born of revolution. Russia? Born of revolution. So maybe these imbeciles have been on our side all along and are merely trying to provide us with enough provocation to do something about it. If so, count me in for the storming of Parliament.
[Image by Antitezo]