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MUTUGI: We authored our own anguish

 COLUMN: The folly of #LowerFoodPrices hashtag

A few years back, I can vividly recall, Kenyans were warned against voting a certain cabal of politicians into high office because they would inflate taxes and make the cost of living unbearable.

A file image of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. Kenyans have expressed dissatisfaction over balloning inflation under their leadership. Photo/COURTESY

Being the Kenyans that we are, we didn’t care about what was being said. We had hashtags like #MyThiefMyChoice trending. We do not care about the consequences of our vote; we just want the person who intrigues us the most with sweet nothings to ascend into power.

It is a well-known fact that these profiteering politicians head the cartels that control the prices of petroleum products as well as electricity, import grain in bulk, supply farm inputs to all the country’s outlets at exorbitant prices and therefore dictate the prices of everything. They are eating us alive, but we love them.

We authored our own anguish and still continue to sacrifice ourselves at the altar of political deceit, rhetoric and wheeler-dealing. Politics stupefies Kenyans to the level that we cannot think straight about anything else. We quickly forget our suffering and start worshiping unscrupulous politicians. 

Today, the price of everything has shot up. A protest has now started and we are championing it from the comfort of our office desktops and smartphones. #LowerFoodPrices is the message, but I cannot help wondering whom it is directed to and whether it will have any effect.

This hashtag is quite irritating if you spend some time to critically think about it. Apart from littering Social Media networks, what else will the hashtag achieve? Herd mentality has driven everyone to posting meaningless posts with the hashtag, stupidly believing that this will bring food prices down.

What I know for sure is that we can shout from the bottom of our butts to the top of our lungs to lament of high food prices, and all that whining will result to naught because we will repeat the same mistake that placed us in the mess that is currently bedeviling the entire country. We’ll continue suffering. 

Self-inflicted wounds

These wounds that we complain are hurting so much are actually self-inflicted. The moment we suspend logical reasoning and start riding the waves of political euphoria without using our brains is the beginning of all our troubles. Watch campaigns keenly and see how quickly we degenerate into zombies.

I have also seen some convoluted theories on how we should vote for some characters so that they can improve the economy and make life easier for all of us. However, these are the same goons who have impoverished us by looting the country to its knees. When will we ever learn?

Kenyans are really struggling. The financial burden on everyone’s shoulders is almost unbearable. Then on one side, you will see these hapless souls clapping for the architects of their misery. We are ready to continue suffering as long as the person who gave us a handout of Sh100 is in office.

Let us be honest to ourselves; politicians do not give a damn about us. We are voting machines to place them where they want to be for ease of racketeering and after that we are as useless as soiled toilet paper, we get discarded and forgotten until the next time we’ll be needed to vote.

I’m not a sadist, neither am I a masochist, but I equally do not want to support the tomfoolery of plunging into political horseplay headfirst without thinking. Let food prices rise even higher to teach us all a lesson; if we do not die, we’ll be enlightened. This is an electioneering year; we must learn to vote wisely!

Otherwise, go vote for the glutton that you so much admire, and never complain that he eats too much. Close your eyes to all the economic crimes committed in the recent past, and also shut up in future when public coffers are robbed in broad daylight and you’re shown the middle finger!

MUTUGI NJUE is Principal Information and Communications Technology Officer, County Assembly of Embu

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