By S Nyanchwani via FB
About Conjestina Ochieng’
First of all, among the things Raila Odinga is famous, generosity is one of them, so cut him some slack. Even so, mama Ida did help Conjestina, just as Churchill and cameras were a part of it.
Modern charity and philanthropy shouts. It screams. It is part and parcel of Public Relations and presently, and for the last ten years, Sonko has been the kingpin of it. Sonko will never do anything that will not give some media coverage and political mileage. He has bailed so many families, and for their misery, he has milked every publicity he can get from such. Families are thankful, and for his troubles, Sonko has had the smoothest political transition in the history of Kenya; won a by-election as an MP, became a senator under the new constitution, and 200 years from now, our progeny will know that the second governor of Nairobi was a buffoon-in-chief. But good enough, in this epoch, across the world, buffoons are having a field day.
It is a perfectly decent expectation to expect Raila and in deed the Luo political elite to save Conjestina. For she is as much a Luo heroine as she is a Kenyan heroine. It is the way we do our things. Politicians are known to be saviours. It is a role they have perfected especially around election time. So our a Luo brothers need not be so defensive.
But really, Conjestina is a national shame.
That Kenya’s finest female boxer and one of the best entertainers can rot in squalor, subjected to ridicule online by some dimwit, calls for national reflection.
Conjestina has mental issues.
In a country with 4G network, and often ranked as the best in the East Coast of Africa, we need better institutions that we commit those with mental problems to.
We only have Mathare and I don’t know if regionally we do have others. But in Kenya as in many African countries, those with mental issues are left to roam in streets, scavenging for food, wearing tattered clothes and talking to themselves. They are rejected by their families and friends and nobody really knows where they are from. We conveniently say “walirogwa” and that is it.
Yet we go to church to pray every Sunday.
Yet we have a government.
Yet we have well traveled people who know better/ or should know better. But we never pause to think.
We need to unlearn this messiahnic belief that there are people who because of their fortune are obliged to help others. What we need are institutions for that.
Institutions last. Human beings don’t.
Conjestina should trigger us to think of how we handle the weakest and vulnerable in society.
We inherited a western way of doing things. We must now embrace certain aspects of their lifestyles if we are to deal with future problems.
As more young people leave the villages for cities, we must ask, who will take care for the elderly. In another 20 years, we will need homes for the elderly. Is it OK, to let those with mental problems roam the streets? Is Mathare good enough to rehabilitate alcoholics and those with mental problems?
The government often has a budget for these things, but that money is always chewed like sugarcane.
I ask my friend Martha Wangari to think of a bill that will ensure each county can set aside funds to build institutions to rehabilitate those members of society that need protection.
It is the only decent thing to do.