By Ekakoro Emorut
Suddenly, being middle-class in Kenya became at once the most dangerous and hateful thing to be. Dudes can’t put distance between them and the title fast enough. But let tell you a few things:
1. That things is more or less a myth. In Kenya, you either have more than you need (and that number is barely 1%) or you’re Bart surviving. The difference is that some will collapse within 2 days, while some will put on a brave face for a month or two. Most fall in between.
2. Those advancing the “let’s blame the middle-class” narrative fall squarely within the category themselves.
3. The so-called middle-class takes the flack for so many things. They don’t vote, or make the wrong choices. But let me ask a question: just how big is this class to influence a political outcome? If they hardly vote because they’re busy chasing deals and contracts, then it means someone must be voting in these ineffective leaders. Who are these? It can’t be the 1%. That class only bankrolls the process from afar.
4. Let me tell you what the problem really is. Most people can’t come to terms with the sudden realisation that the politicians they kill and insult others for have done nothing for them, and they can’t survive a week’s lockdown. That class failed to take the right action in time; they allowed flights to come in when everybody else was banning them. It’s the sudden realisation of their own complicity. But admitting this means losing the moral authority to criticise and criticise ad infinitum. Solution? Remove yourself from the midst and blame someone else.
5. Most of those bashing that much-maligned group expect a certain backlash from the masses, and are simply trying to identify themselves with the downtrodden to escape their wrath.
6. If they were honest with themselves, they’d be dusting their voters cards and ensure they vote better next time. But that means facing the truth and admitting that your cousin or tribesman is no good and you might have to vote for people you’ve aways been prejudiced against for no discernable reason. We’re not ready for that and so would prefer to ame our fellow sufferers by labelling them yet we know they receive not a cent of our tax money.
One would imagine this is the time for introspection, but we’re not quite ready yet. I’d say thank you corona for exposing the truth, but we haven’t learnt anything. If things get worse, we’ll prefer to blame that other tribe and attack them. In the absence of an enemy tribe, blame the middle-class.