Photo: Mwalimu Dida, a critic of Uhuru policies
By Wandia Njoya
Speaking of trauma as an academic…
Colonialism was a trauma. We were told that capitalism (going to school and getting a middle class job, or doing business and getting rich) would heal the trauma, but it didn’t. PEV was the height of the trauma exploding to the surface, as we are told by the “In search of Healers report.”
Then Kibakinomics gave us neoliberalism.We were told to set ourselves “targets” to prove that we are ok. Workers were given performance management. Churches built social facilities and education institutions were told to teach marketable subjects and aim for student numbers. That would heal the trauma. But it hasnt.
We don’t heal institutions in Kenya. When they are destroyed, we run to another to do double work, instead of rebuilding the walls. So GoK destroyed education we ran to the church. GoK destroyed healthcare, we ran to the church. Instead of the clergy asking “what happened to our people,” they decided to become businesses, schools and hospitals themselves. Using stolen money if they must.
We Kenyans have learned to stay under the radar. As long as we had food on the table, a salary and kids going to school, we shut up. We’re humiliated in matatus, we’re bullied at work, we’re insulted at church, we just keep quiet. When artists crumble, when medics are beaten down, when lecturers run away, we bury our heads and say “I hope that won’t be me next time.” When our medics were beaten down in 2017, middle class pretended they saw nothing. CBC came in 2018, middle class kept asking me “why bother when we can homeschool?” In a sense, I now see that we really have no ground to question Oluga’s joining Nairobi Metropolitan. What else was there for him to do, when the middle class said “leave us alone with our medical insurance and NHIF?”
There is no balm in Gilead. There is nowhere to run.
No wonder coronavirus has closed even the church. It’s God telling Kenyans, again as Damaris Parsitau said, that we can’t spiritualize everything. We must heal healthcare and return the medics there. We must heal education and let education, not business, inform decisions.We must not return to the abnormality we had before this pandemic. We must heal Kenyans.