By Kyrgitt Kiprono
I was on my way from Eldoret sometimes back and decided to stop over to buy some Honey by the highway. You know Baringo and West Pokot honey is some of the purest of Honey we have.
I didn’t stop by the marauding hawkers who can literally break your side mirror clamouring for a sale (hustlers we need to discuss business decorum) but I drove ahead and saw a lonesome lady in her stand selling the Honey. I realized I didn’t have cash at hand but only on Mpesa. I asked for her number and she told me, she didn’t have a phone but she had a number I could send it to. I purchased Honey worth 1000/- and sent the money to the number.
Once I sent the money, I told her that I had and she just said thank you. She didn’t ask to confirm the message nor feared I’d reverse the cash. I asked her, and she smiled and said, she knows I’ll send it because it’s the right thing to do.
I drove off perplexed and bemused at the same time. I was hoping she hasn’t lost her stock in the past due to thieving clients.
A second time, driving to Nairobi from Kericho I stopped by at a popular vegetable market called Chepseon to purchase some vegetables. The same thing happens. I purchase a good amount of veggies and I tell the lady, looks like in her sixties, that I had money on Mpesa. She gives me her number but says she left her phone in the house. I asked her why she trusted me yet she didn’t know me and in kipsigis she tells me …
” It’s because I know that’s not how we raised our sons… Your heart will do the right thing…it’s unfortunate that nowadays everyone is either distrustful or is untrustworthy, including our own people, but my son, that’s not who we are. A man I sold to potatoes once reversed the money after sending it to me but he returned a month later apologizing because his conscience ate him up. He wasn’t from here, but I forgave him and still sold him items. He is my client to date. Sometimes I send him potatoes as cargo to Nakuru and he send me money. It’s all about your heart, and that’s what our forefathers instilled in us. Schools came to give us education, but it also eradicated culture and our norms”.
These two incidents made me reflect a lot.
I realized that good nature and good will can never be legislated. It must start from within you. I could have chosen to rip these women off, but to what end? In the days of yore, gentleman agreements were complete with a handshake.
My father once told me how back in the sixties, people bought land from each other by way of handshakes and sharing goat ribs after a sale agreement. The sale could be by barter or money paid in lengthy installments. Land disputes were settled by old men under a tree and adjudicated fairly. No surveyors, no lawyers, no caveats, no injunctions… just plain old village adjudication.
One’s word against the other was valid enough for a fair hearing. No receipts. No contracts.
If society is supposed to evolve for the better, then what has modernity, education and civilization done to our innate good nature?
Without empathy and good will, we incubate a toxic society and that’s why today, we live without any form of trust, nor love for one another.
The UK, New Zealand and Israel are among a handful of countries that do not have a written constitution.
In the case of the UK, the constitution is not codified, meaning it’s not available in a single document for referral. This means, man, can live by mutual understanding and faith in institutions, without the legalese.
I find speed bumps the most primitive system of road safety. It’s archaic. But I support the erection of speed bumps.
A speed bump on a highway means that “We don’t trust these monkeys driving to understand road signs and speed limits within built up areas, so we shall erect an obstacle on the road such as ramble strips and bumps to remind them to slow down”.
Every time you hit a bump on the road, remember that you’re the monkey not trusted to obey traffic rules of speed.
Should we be like this?
How do we restore faith in ourselves?
We must do it. We must be a better society or raise a better society.
The Somali community do it. They still do transactions without contracts. They believe in good nature.
No amount of tinkering with our constitution will change the hearts of men. BBI will not guarantee anyone any perks because, enforcing human beings are the same.
The constitution is flouted daily. Lawyers have won cases for known thieves or murderers. Innocent people have lost property through the courts.
The only thing academic justice has given us is semantics. I mean, the first thing a criminal does after being caught is to look for a lawyer. He doesn’t look for his peers, his uncles, his spiritual mentors nor the plaintiff for forgiveness. He immediately knows that a little bit of semantics will get him off the hook.
Has the law added value to humanity?
The BBI document will not solve the human factor in betrayals, incompetence and distrust. It will beget other documents to mitigate it’s shortcomings, and however much we amend the law without amending out hearts and souls, we shall be in a vicious cycle for eternity.
Peace in the rift valley did not return after years of political instability because of the law. The law existed then. In 2007, the police were overwhelmed and the military divided on what to do… It took the proactive intentions of the actors themselves to shake hands for peace to prevail. Similarly, the handshake between Uhuru and Raila is not founded on any law, it’s a gentleman’s agreement. The benefit of it was return of normalcy in our political field and cessation of political bile from one end to the other.
It takes a good heart, to drive the society forward.
It’s your good hearts, hustlers, believing in each other, helping one another, supporting each other’s businesses, checking up on one another, encouraging one another… That will make us a quality community and a progressive family.
It’s now time for the hymns. Who’s the soloist?