Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A whining Nation

It is no secret that Moi messed up Kenya. It is equally no secret that Kenyans have acquired a whining mentality-that things are not working well as they ought to.

In the spirit of whining, the civil service has been painted as pathetic and lazy, corrupt and inept. The public has been accused of ignorance and illiteracy.

While the indictment may be true, I guess we should always give room for change. When we ever know the situation is changing if we do not give people a chance, every act is condemned.

Most of the people working in government offices are our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and cousins, who probably we hold in very high esteem. These relatives have organised their homes, pushed kids through school with peanut salary and clothed all of us somehow.

I am not in any way condoning the ills that wreck the country but I think its time we gave people a chance.

Change comes from within, we must change our outlook.

Most of the people who whine and trash the government do not queue for its services, don’t visit our hospitals, don’t go to our schools- they have access to the best services.

We may want things to move faster but even Rome was not built in a day. It takes time.

For instance, America took almost a century to make meaningful gains in the fight against child labour and efficiency in government.

We all want an efficient civil service and an informed public but it has to start somewhere.

I always feel good when I visit an office and am served well. Not because it’s a favour but because it reminds me that the situation is not that bad after all. Of course there is room for improvement but for once, stop whining.

Without fear of contradiction, I can say that at times I don’t like the services offered but if you get to know the level of poverty or the residence or salary of the person serving you, I think you say THANK YOU!



Alexander said...

One must, indeed, do both. One must criticize what is worthy of criticism. But one must also acknowledge and sometimes maybe even appreciate what works well, or has been improved.

In more detail: to criticize means not the generic complacent whining that everything be bad, corrupt, inefficient, yada yada. Rebecca has chastized such an attitude with full reason.
Instead, use a well-directed "name and shame" tactic. Do not complain about e-government not achieving its goals, but identify the culprit buffoon (Dr. Juma Okech as ICT secretary in the Office of the President, a hang-over from Moi's "dreamteam" times, who was so expensive that a World Bank loan had to provide for his initial salary).

Do not only limit yourself just to complain about the (indeed omnipresent) lack of proper servitude mentality, and about lemmings caling for lidaah-sheep guiding them to the cliff; but show where some public servants acted as public nuisances, and vivisect a specific "Service Charter" that is the travesty of one (Ministry of Tourism), and the public servant who ultimately is responsible for it (PS Rebecca Nubutola).

If you are one of the many who as customer or investor have experienced the "no business, we are Kenyan!" mentality, do not yield to the temptation of painting every business(wo) man with the same tar brush. Rather, depict the vivid scene where the MD of the Nyayo Teazones Development Corporation, Dr. Anne Karimi Kinyua, lost her mind and composure and behaved like a seasoned North Korean communist party official faced with the prospect of capitalism occupying his office chair.

On the other hand, do recognize the traffic policeman who went out of his way to help you with a street inquiry. Appreciate the professional information strategy and public relations of KACC, who have made their day-to-day work more transparent than ony other government entity or NGO in Kenya. Acknowledge the zeal and wananchi-positive spirit of the new MD of the Teaboard of Kenya, and her vigour in implement geographic indicators of origin.
Etc. etc.

Name and shame, but and name and acknowledge to. Do so without false reticence, and without boot-licking either. Only that can bring all of us forward.


Alexander said...

Freudian slip, oh wow.

I not intend to write "servitude" mentality. THAT one is certainly omnipresent, alas.
I meant and was desiring "service mentality". Mea culpa !


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